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Select Committee to consider a second petition

A Tynwald committee looking at the complaints procedure for legal aid decisions in family matters will hear evidence next month.

Legal aid certifying officer Wendy Montgomerie will appear before a public sitting of the committee on August 12.

The committee is taking evidence to help it consider a petition for redress of grievance submitted by Paul Smith, at this year's open air sitting of Tynwald at St John's.

It's the second petition the Select Committee on Legal Aid in Family Matters has examined, after it was established to examine that of Stephen Broad in 2009.

A report went before Tynwald and all the recommendations were approved.

Mr Smith's petition seeks the establishment of a cost-free complaints process in relation to decisions made by the legal aid certifying officer.

Under the current system, any complaint against a decision by that officer in relation to legal aid in a family matter has to go to the High Court as the Lieutenant Governor, who appoints the legal aid officer, doesn't have the authority to adjudicate.

Recourse to the High Court is expensive and is thought likely to be a deterrant to complaints.

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