Paying towards the cost of Legal Aid
You may be required to pay towards the cost of Legal Aid if:
- you qualify for Legal Aid as a contributor
- you don’t conduct your case in a reasonable manner
- you don’t tell the Legal Aid office when your circumstances change
- you don’t respond to requests by the Legal Aid office for financial information
If you qualify for Legal Aid as a contributor we will write to you to let you know how much you have to pay and the monthly payment terms. We will write to you to confirm the offer of Legal Aid and you will need to accept in writing.
You can pay your contributions by sending a cheque, or in person at the Public Counter of the Isle of Man Courts of Justice. Make your cheque payable to 'Isle of Man Government' and quote your Legal Aid reference number on every payment.
If you are finding it difficult to pay your contributions you must contact the Legal Aid office as soon as possible. If you don’t pay your contributions without agreement from the Legal Aid office, your Legal Aid certificate may be discharged.
The Statutory Charge – paying back your Legal Aid if you keep or are awarded money or property
If you get Legal Aid for your case and are successful in preserving or recovering money or property when your case concludes, the Statutory Charge may apply. This means you may be directed to repay the cost of your Legal Aid, to the Legal Aid fund, in full or in part.
Your Advocate will explain the Statutory Charge to you as part of the process of applying for Legal Aid.
The principle of the Statutory Charge is to place the assisted person in the same position as the unassisted person, as far as possible. It gives the Treasury the legal right to recover costs from you and will take account of any contributions you have already made.
The Charge was introduced on 1 December 2014 under Regulation 3 of the Legal Aid (Financial Resources) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. This means that the Treasury can impose a charge on money or other property recovered or preserved in legal proceedings.
This makes the amount of any Legal Aid, plus interest in certain cases, a first charge on the property in favour of the Treasury (regulation 3 and Schedule), and require the assisted person's Advocate to give the Treasury details of the property (regulation 4). Treasury may register a ‘charge’ similar to a mortgage, with the Land Registry to ensure that the property is not sold before you have paid back Legal Aid costs to the Treasury.
There are some exemptions such as maintenance payments, the assisted person’s main and only home, cases that serve the wider public interest and some redundancy and inheritance payments.
Tell your Advocate about any changes to your financial situation as this may affect the amount of contributions or Statutory Charge that you pay.