Legal Aid for Inquests Challenge

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014

Christine MarshIn October this year Mrs. Justice Andrews, a High Court Judge, allowed a challenge to the Lord Chancellor’s guidance on inquest funding and on the grounds that the guidance was flawed and unlawful, gave permission to Joanna Letts to pursue a Judicial Review.

Joanna Letts’ brother Christopher died in 2013, 4 days after being allowed to leave hospital after being hit by a train. Mrs Letts’ application for legal aid to be represented at the 4 day inquest was originally rejected by the Legal Aid Agency on the grounds that she could represent herself. Only after Judicial Review proceedings were issued did the Legal Aid Agency back down and agreed to grant funding.

Mrs. Justice Andrews found that the denial of legal aid raised issues of wider public importance and granted permission to proceed. Ms Letts has opted to continue the Judicial Review in order to assist other families going through similar situations and a hearing is likely to take place in January 2015.

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