Just Say What You Mean

The (then) LSC nil assessed our clients claim for “insufficient proof of means” – a weekly wage slip. This has increasingly been our experience. This despite Contract Part E 4.1.1:

“In practical terms when income/allowances do not vary month to month then the relative amounts can be taken by reference to the most recent month’s or weeks payments” (Emphasis added, variation of wages was not alleged)

The Legal Help form even contains the calculation necessary to convert a weekly wage into a monthly one, for assessment purposes. Neither is a “single wage slip” contained in the “Unacceptable Evidence” section of Part E 12.2.5. In our experience firms have happily, and until recently, used the “times by 52 divide by 12” formula on the basis of the last weekly wage slip, with no adverse comment.

Frankly I do not care much if 4, weekly wage slips is the proof required, properly to grant Legal Help. In fact the most recent version of Part E 4.1.1 (not the applicable guidance for the case in hand) has been amended as follows:

“where weekly pay slips provided by the client show that a consistent amount is paid, the calculation can be based on the latest pay slip”.

One might read this to imply that more than one weekly wage slip is required.

Now what I do care about, however, is clarity. If this is the intention of the amendment then why not simply say so, for example:

“where the applicant is paid weekly income must be calculated by an average of 1, 2, 3, or 4 (delete as appropriate) weekly wages slips from the computation period. A single wage slip is unacceptable for assessment and evidential purposes”

Not hard is it?

About Author: SP

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