The UK Supreme Court will today hear the appeal in Re S (A Child). The hearing will be streamed live from the Supreme Court website here.
Karan Chadha of Freemans family department, Lance Ashworth QC of Serle Court and Cyrus Larizadeh and Dorothea Gartland of 4 Paper Buildings are representing Access to Justice who were granted leave by the Supreme Court to intervene in the appeal as an interested party.
The case concerns an award of pro bono costs in favour of the Access to Justice Foundation against a Local Authority who had opposed an appeal brought by a Father in care proceedings.
The Father had been represented on the appeal through the Bar Pro Bono Unit and was successful in his appeal against an order under s. 34 (4) Children Act 1989 authorising the Local Authority to refuse contact between the Father and his daughter. The Court of Appeal ordered the Local Authority to pay costs under s. 194 Legal Services Act 2007 to the Access to Justice Foundation, noting that there was a public interest in the Bar Pro Bono Unit being compensated on a reasonable basis by an award of costs where such an award is available under the legislation.
The Access to Justice Foundation is the prescribed charity set up by order of the Lord Chancellor under the Legal Services Act 2007 (Prescribed Charity) Order 2008 and it raises and distributes money to pro bono organisations throughout England and Wales including the Bar Pro Bono Unit and RCJ Advice Bureau.
The Local Authority were granted permission to appeal against this order by the Supreme Court, and the court will consider the ambit of pro bono costs awards at the hearing today.