Court of Appeal says that Legal Services Commission guidance for granting public funding to families at inquests is too restrictive

Wednesday 22 December 2010

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The Legal Services Commission has unsuccessfully appealed the decision of Hickinbottom J in R (Humberstone) v Legal Services Commission. The Court of Appeal held that although the judge in the court below had overstated the circumstances in which the investigative duty under Article 2 ECHR would apply, that the judge had correctly identified the flaws in the LSC's decision. Lady Justice Smith, with whom Lords Justices Kay and Leveson agreed, held that the inquest for which Ms Humberstone, the mother of a child who died following an asthma attack, was seeking funding could give rise to issues under Article 2 ECHR. The court also held that the requirement to provide funding in Article 2 cases was not just confined to exceptional cases, but should be where funding was required to likely to be necessary to enable the next of kin to play an effective part in proceedings.

For the full text of the judgment, click here.

Ms Humberstone was represented throughout, including at the inquest into her son's death, by Stephen Simblet. Stephen was instructed by Peter Mahy of Howells, Sheffield.

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