Parson, R (on the application of) v Legal Aid Area Committee, Court of Appeal - Civil Division, March 24, 1999, [1999] EWCA Civ 1083

Resolution Date:March 24, 1999
Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:Parson, R (on the application of) v Legal Aid Area Committee
 
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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE QBCOF 1998/0833/4

COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

CROWN OFFICE LIST

(MR JUSTICE LAWS)

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London

Wednesday 24 March 1999

B e f o r e:

LORD JUSTICE BELDAM

LORD JUSTICE ALDOUS

and

LORD JUSTICE MANTELL

THE QUEEN

- v -

THE LEGAL AID AREA COMMITTEE

Ex parte EDMUND JAMES PARSON

_______________

(Computer Aided Transcription by

Smith Bernal, 180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HD

Telephone 0171 421 4040

Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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MR MEREDITH HARDY (instructed by Messrs Blight Broad & Skinnard,

Callington) appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT

MISS BEVERLEY LANG (instructed by the Legal Department of the Legal

Aid Area Committee) appeared on behalf of THE RESPONDENT

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J U D G M E N T

(As Approved by the Court)

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Wednesday 24 March 1999

LORD JUSTICE BELDAM: The appellant, Mr E.J. Parsons, is 60 years of age and by profession a dental technician. In the autumn of 1992 he was carrying on a dental design business in Walsall when he was invited by Mr Luke to work for his company, European South-Western Dental Laboratories Ltd, in Plymouth. The appellant agreed and moved to Devon but in January 1993 the company dismissed him. He then consulted solicitors. He said he had been induced to give up his business to work for the company by misrepresentations and had suffered substantial loss. He wished to take proceedings to claim damages. In February 1993 he was granted legal aid to take the proceedings which were begun on 25th June 1993 in the Plymouth County Court. In the course of the proceedings the defendant company made representations to the Legal Aid Board in accordance with the Notes for Guidance published in the Legal Aid Handbook. The representations resulted in the board issuing a notice to the appellant on 11th January 1996 to show cause why the legal aid certificate should not be discharged or revoked. On 11th March 1996 the board did revoke the certificate, giving the reason:

"The assisted person has made an untrue statement as to his/her resources or has failed to disclose a material fact concerning them."

The appellant appealed to the Area Committee which on 25th April 1996 dismissed his appeal. The appellant sought to challenge the decision of the Area Committee and applied for leave to move for judicial review. He was given leave by Latham J. on 11th December 1996. His application was heard by Laws J. who on 17th November 1997 dismissed it. He now appeals to this court.

The Facts

The revocation of the appellant's legal aid certificate arose from his completion on 20th January 1993 of his application form for legal aid. The form required him to give full details of his means by answering a series of questions. On page 3 the appellant was asked:

"Are you or your partner getting any state benefits or allowances?"

He ticked the box marked "No", adding a marginal note saying:

"But I will be applying for state benefits within the next few days."

On page 5 he was asked:

"Do you or your partner pay out any money for a private pension scheme?"

To which he answered "Yes", stating that the payment was £30 per month.

Page 9 contained the question:

"Do you or your partner have any savings?"

Followed by the clear words:

"By savings we mean money in things like:- Banks; Building Societies; Premium Bonds; Post Office; cash at home but not National Saving Certificates?"

The appellant ticked the box marked "No".

On the same page, at the bottom of the page, the appellant was asked:

"Do you or your partner have any life insurance or endowment policies?"

The question was followed by the words:

"Do not include policies linked to your mortgage or small policies paid weekly."

Again the appellant ticked the box marked "No".

The appellant signed the form on 20th January 1993.

As a result of the representations made by the defendant company, the Legal Aid Board asked the appellant to produce copies of his bank statements. These showed that at the time he completed his application for legal aid he had a sum of £3,708.26 standing to the credit of his joint current account at the Midland Bank. It also...

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