News and Updates

We are very excited to announce an upcoming collaboration with the LJMU Law Clinic. Under the supervision of an experienced solicitor LJMU trained students will be completing the application forms for Exceptional Case Funding for Legal Aid for suitable clients we will refer to them.

ECF is a special type of legal aid administered by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), part of the Ministry of Justice. ECF is made available to people who would not usually qualify for funding, to help with their case, because the issues involved are generally excluded from legal aid. However, if without legal advice or representation an individual could suffer a breach of their human rights ECF must be made available. This is going to be such an important project as these types of applications are extremely time consuming and often there are not enough resources available to help complete them which in turn means that a client may not be able to gain access to the funding required to help their case move forward.

We look forward to working with the LJMU Law Clinic on this project and hope to help many people going forward.

This month, our Justice First Fellow Samantha Maher and solicitor Mary Heery attended the Court of Appeal for a pivotal case involving their client, which could see a change in Social Security regulations if won. The case has yet to be decided. The client, a vulnerable adult with serious disabilities appealed against the disallowance of DLA during a hospital stay. The current regulations are that an applicant aged 18 years or over is not paid Disability Living Allowance (`DLA’) after he has been a hospital in-patient for a cumulative total of 28 days or more. The client argues that the Regulations should be repealed for adults, as they were for children, following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2015. Amanda Weston QC , Desmond Routledge & Ollie Persey of Garden Court Chambers represented our client in this case, 'MOC v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions' before Lord Justice Peter Jackson, Lord Justice Singh and Lady Justice Andrews.

This case illustrates perfectly the absolute need for Legal Aid. Without access to Legal Aid, this important case would not have been heard as the cost would have proved impossible to pay for the client and attention may not have been drawn to the wider issues surrounding DLA which need reviewing for the welfare of Disabled people across the country. At the heart of this case, beyond all the talk of regulations, is the fact that someone who has no speech, is blind and cannot walk had their benefits taken away whilst in hospital, while at their most vulnerable. Benefits that allow them to retain an element of care, that ensure their carer has the funds to continue to visit them, to ensure they have everything they need to run their home whilst they are away. What kind of regulations punish people for being hospitalised? Legal Aid allows people on low income to have fair access to justice and must be preserved and funded well. We are hoping for a positive decision on this case which could see a much needed change in regulations for the most vulnerable in society.

We, The Merseyside Law Centre Marvels, are signed up to the #LiverpoolLegalWalk to raise much needed funds for local advice agencies. Please sponsor us so we can continue to help the most vulnerable people in society. #socialjustice