20 May, 2024
2 mins read

Family court cases: LHC orders govt to operationalize legal aid agency for the needy – Pakistan

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has directed the provincial government to operationalize within three months the Punjab Legal Aid Agency, which is supposed to provide legal services to indigent persons, especially the women, in family matters.

A full bench passed the order, deciding a set of petitions against section 14 of the Family Courts Act, 1964, which does not allow an appeal against a decree for maintenance to a child of an amount of Rs 5000 or less per month.

During the hearing of the petitions, the bench learned that the province of the Punjab, through Act No.XIX of 2018, enacted the Punjab Legal Aid Act, 2018, which provides for the Punjab Legal Aid Agency to be established by the government to provide legal services to an indigent person, inter alia, in family disputes relating to divorce, maintenance, dowry, dower or custody of children.

However, the said agency has not been operationalized until date.

Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh, who authored the verdict, observed that the adjudication of claims entails physical and psychological harm, incurring of financial resources and a degree of perseverance to succeed for the enforcement of one’s rights.

The judge noted that it is quite an order for a resource-less wife and/or child to invoke the jurisdiction of the family court to claim maintenance when a husband/father fails to perform his obligations in that regard, particularly in the absence of a well -established legal aid system.

To ensure effective enforcement of the right of access to justice and fair trial, as guaranteed under Article 9 and 10A of the Constitution to women and children, the bench directed the government to operationalize the Punjab Legal Aid Agency within a period of three months to provide legal aid services to indigent persons in the family matters.

About the questions posed

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Legal aid widened for child cases following public law challenge | News

The Ministry of Justice has widened the scope of legal aid to cover looking-after children with special educational needs after public law campaigners – with the Law Society’s support – helped a vulnerable child overcome a hurdle in challenging the Legal Aid Agency.

The Legal Aid Agency had refused to grant the child of infant school age, who was partly under the care of the local authority, legal aid for her special educational needs and disability (SEND) tribunal appeal on means grounds, stating that the finances of her prospective adoptive parents should be assessed.

In the SEND tribunal, appeals are brought in the name of a parent or carer rather than the child. The child argued that, for legal aid purposes, the prospective adopter’s role should be categorized as akin to that of a litigation friend – which would mean their means are not relevant.

The Public Law Project was granted permission by the High Court to challenge the agency’s refusal – although, as PLP explained to the Gazettes at the time, getting to the High Court was not easy.

Today, PLP announced that the Ministry of Justice has changed the law so that, from today, foster and prospective adopted parents bringing SEND appeals on behalf of a looked-after child will not be approved means it is assessed.

The child was represented by PLP’s Emma Vincent Miller, with counsel Amanda Weston KC, Oliver Persey, and Isaac Ricca-Richardson of Garden Court Chambers. The child is represented by Esther Salter of Simpson Millar solicitors in the SEND Tribunal matter.

PLP said the case was only possible with the support of the Law Society, which provided indemnity against adverse costs.

Vincent Miller said: ‘Children with special educational needs sometimes need to challenge decisions that relate to how their needs are met by their

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2 mins read

Legal aid widened for child cases following public law challenge | News

The Ministry of Justice has widened the scope of legal aid to cover looking-after children with special educational needs after public law campaigners – with the Law Society’s support – helped a vulnerable child overcome a hurdle in challenging the Legal Aid Agency.

The Legal Aid Agency had refused to grant the child of infant school age, who was partly under the care of the local authority, legal aid for her special educational needs and disability (SEND) tribunal appeal on means grounds, stating that the finances of her prospective adoptive parents should be assessed.

In the SEND tribunal, appeals are brought in the name of a parent or carer rather than the child. The child argued that, for legal aid purposes, the prospective adopter’s role should be categorized as akin to that of a litigation friend – which would mean their means are not relevant.

The Public Law Project was granted permission by the High Court to challenge the agency’s refusal – although, as PLP explained to the Gazettes at the time, getting to the High Court was not easy.

Today, PLP announced that the Ministry of Justice has changed the law so that, from today, foster and prospective adopted parents bringing SEND appeals on behalf of a looked-after child will not be approved means it is assessed.

The child was represented by PLP’s Emma Vincent Miller, with counsel Amanda Weston KC, Oliver Persey, and Isaac Ricca-Richardson of Garden Court Chambers. The child is represented by Esther Salter of Simpson Millar solicitors in the SEND Tribunal matter.

PLP said the case was only possible with the support of the Law Society, which provided indemnity against adverse costs.

Vincent Miller said: ‘Children with special educational needs sometimes need to challenge decisions that relate to how their needs are met by their

Read the rest