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LEILA MOHAMMADI v (1) SHELLPOINT TRUSTEES LTD (2) ANSTON INVESTMENTS LTD

During any time when a litigant acted in person they were not a legally assisted party within the meaning of the Legal Aid Act 1988 s.17. That extended to any period after their solicitors had ceased to act for them and had communicated that to the opponent's solicitors, even if a period of time then elapsed before they took any active steps as a litigant in person.

9 June 2009

The appellant (M) appealed against a costs order which arose from litigation with the respondents (R). M had obtained public funding for her litigation by means of several overlapping legal aid certificates. Throughout the period of litigation M instructed several solicitors. At various times her legal aid certificates were discharged and then reinstated when she retained new solicitors. She acted in person during the periods when she was without legal representation. In assessing costs at the end of the litigation the judge stated that for any dates upon which M was acting for herself she did not have costs protection. M submitted that she had been "a legally assisted party" within the meaning of the Legal Aid Act 1988 s.17 for the whole period of litigation, and that during periods without legal representation she had taken no active steps herself.

HELD: Following the plain meaning of s.2(11), during any period when M was acting in person she was not a legally assisted perso...

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