The following outlines NICCY's legal funding criteria (June 2016):
All decisions taken regarding legal funding must be considered in light of the relevant provisions contained within the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NI) Order 2003.
LEGISLATIVE HURDLES TO BE MET
APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE IN RELATION TO LEGAL PROCEEDINGS (Art. 15)
Do the proceedings involve law or practice concerning the rights or welfare of children or young persons or does the child or young person wish to rely on such law or practice?
Does the case raise a question of principle?
Would it be unreasonable to expect the child or young person to deal with the case without assistance because of complexity, his position in relation to another person involved or for some other reason or are there special circumstances?
Is any other body likely to provide such assistance?
If the Legal Funding Committee is satisfied that the proceedings meet the above criteria and that no other body is likely to provide such assistance - move to secondary criteria.
APPLICATION FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE WITH A COMPLAINT (Art. 11)
Is the complaint that the rights of the child or young person have been infringed or adversely affected?
Is there any other person or body likely to provide financial assistance?
If the Legal Funding Committee is satisfied that the complaint falls within these criteria and no other body is likely to provide financial assistance - move to secondary criteria.
IF THE APPLICATION HAS MET THE LEGISLATIVE HURDLE THEN THE FOLLOWING MUST BE CONSIDERED:
Is the case so exceptional that the Commissioners finite budget should be used to fund another party to bring the case?
The availability of resources and whether the cost is commensurate with the strategic benefit to be gained to NICCY. This should be considered in light of both the availability of budget and any future potential for further costs to the organisation, if for example an appeal were lodged or costs could be awarded against NICCY.
IF THE APPLICATION MEETS THIS TEST THEN WE MOVE TO THE SECONDARY CRITERIA
In each case all the secondary criteria for a particular type of application should be met, unless there is a justifiable reason for pursuing the matter which falls outside of these criteria.
SECONDARY CRITERIA FOR APPLICATION UNDER ARTICLE 15
Is the issue one of strategic importance to NICCY?
Is there a reasonable prospect of success?
Would a positive outcome set a precedent which would benefit a wide range of children and young people in Northern Ireland?
SECONDARY CRITERIA FOR APPLICATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 11
Does the complaint concern an area which has been highlighted to us through our casework function?
Would the child or young person be unable to pursue their complaint properly without our financial assistance?
Is there potential to bring about a change in practice which could benefit either this child or a number of children in the future?