Help safeguard the Legal Aid Fund and protect yourself at the same time
We need your help to help track down fraudulent legal aid claims.
We know that the vast majority of clients and providers make honest claims.
But there are times when providers need to be prepared for frank discussions with their clients to help us tackle the problem of fraud.
Joint fraud prosecutions
The Legal Aid Agency is doing an increasing amount of work with the Department for Work and Pensions on joint fraud prosecutions.
One particular issue concerns passporting benefits.
Although passporting automatically entitles the recipient to legal aid, a fraudulent benefit claim can also mean a fraudulent legal aid claim.
We know that you have a duty to act in your clients? best interests. But you also have a duty under your legal aid contract.
So you must tell us if you suspect your client may not be eligible for a benefit.
A contract breach was recently highlighted in a divorce case.
We found a provider had breached their contractual duty to report doubts over their client?s eligibility.
Following a joint investigation with the DWP:
- we declined to pay a £20,000 legal aid bill to the legal aid firm and
- the client was convicted for failing to declare several thousand pounds of earnings.
The firm?s mistake was to accept the client?s assurances that she had reported earnings of several thousand pounds a year as a self-employed masseuse.
The client?s mistake was her failure to declare her earnings to the Pension Credit Agency.
Email our firstname.lastname@example.org if you suspect your client may not be eligible for legal aid.
Alternatively, contact your Contract Manager.