InsightsInsight - Family and Divorce - POSTED: August 11 2015
Coroners’ Courts 2015 – Family funding rules to be relaxed
Funding of legal representation for families in complex inquests is rare but may be about to change. In the case of R (Letts) v Lord Chancellor 2015 the High Court has decided that at least one aspect of the Exceptional Funding Guidance issued by the Lord Chancellor is unlawful.
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The rule was that funding should only be granted where there is evidence of an arguable breach of Article 2 ECHR. It has been decided that this is now incorrect because the Article 2 procedural duty can be engaged even where there was no evidence of an arguable breach e.g. suicide in custody.
Although the LC Guidance was not quashed it seems only a matter of time before there is a review of funding for families to make it easier for them to have legal representation particularly as the focus of recent coronial reforms was on families’ rights. Despite the likely relaxation of the restrictions, families will still have to show that the circumstances of death do engage the Article 2 right to life obligations whenever the procedural or operational duties of the NHS are in issue.
For support, training and advice on Inquests please contact John Sheath on 01622 776406 or email JohnSheath@brachers.co.uk.
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