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Poppy Legal: Exceptional Case Funding Project

Poppy Legal has launched an Exceptional Case Funding Project to assist potential female victims of trafficking with securing exceptional funding from the Legal Aid Agency under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO)

LASPO 2012 came in to force on 1 April 2013, and brought fundamental changes in the arrangements for obtaining access to justice and civil litigation costs. Civil legal aid is now only available for certain types of legal work. However, where legal aid is not available, it may be possible to make an application for exceptional case funding.

What is Exceptional Funding?

For those types of cases which are out of scope, exceptional case funding is available if it can be shown that refusal of funding would breach:

  • The applicant’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights; or
  • The applicant’s rights under European Union law

Legal representatives are unable to grant exceptional case funding and all applications have to be sent for determination to the Exceptional Cases Team at the Legal Aid Agency using Form ECF1, accompanied by the relevant means and merits forms.

If an application for exceptional funding is refused by the Legal Aid Agency, there is an internal review process. However if the refusal determination is upheld on review, the only way to challenge the refusal is by way of Judicial Review.

How Poppy Legal can help

We are able to assist with making exceptional funding applications for legal advice, assistance or representation in the following areas of law:

  • Immigration law
  • National Referral Mechanism reviews
  • Advocacy in employment law
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claims

Our Exceptional Case Funding Project will provide a pro bono service to individuals, lawyers, charities and professionals working with female victims of trafficking, with making exceptional case funding applications to the Legal Aid Agency. This service will be provided where help cannot be sought from another source and where appropriate.

Due to the nature of the work undertaken by Poppy Legal, the service will only be available for females where there are credible indicators that she may be a potential victim of trafficking. It is not necessary for a trafficking referral to have been made in to the National Referral Mechanism. The services we can provide include:

  • perusal of case documents for an initial assessment of merits;
  • drafting grounds;
  • attendance on service users for completion of the CIV ECF1 form and relevant means and merits forms; and
  • internal challenges to the Legal Aid Agency following an initial refusal.

Please note that we cannot assist with challenging final refusal determinations by way of Judicial Review.

Making a referral

To make a referral to our Exceptional Case Funding service please complete and download the referral documents.

Please send your completed form and any documents to:

By email: [email protected]

Please title the subject of your email: ‘ECF – [Service User’s name]’

By fax: 020 7820 8907

By post: Poppy Legal Eaves Unit CC01, Canterbury Court Kennington Business Park 1-3 Brixton Road London SW9 6DE

Due to Poppy Legal’s limited size and capacity, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accept all referrals for exceptional case funding but we will do our best to assist. We will require at least 5 working days to provide an initial assessment and approximately 14 days from acceptance of the referral to prepare the ECF application. We cannot therefore accept any emergency applications.

This service is co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union.