Changes to Section 27 Funding

The Bill to remove funding for reports obtained under section 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002, often referred to as cultural reports, has now received Royal assent and will take effect on Friday 22 March 2024. This means that the Legal Services Commissioner will no longer be able to fund written reports or in-person appearances, relating to section 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002.

It is important to note that section 27 itself has not been amended. Offenders will still be able to call on a person to speak to the Court about the offender’s background as originally intended by the Act.

To enable assessment of an amendment to grant request for section 27 report funding before 22 March 2024, the Legal Services Commissioner is asking providers to ensure it is received by Legal Aid Services before 12pm on Thursday 21 March 2024.

The Commissioner notes that Legal Aid Services cannot guarantee that any requests for amendment to grants for section 27 report funding received after 12pm on 21 March 2024, will be assessed before 22 March 2024, although they will endeavour to do so.

Providers will continue to be able to submit invoices for section 27 report-disbursements in the normal way, providing the report funding was approved by Legal Aid Services before 22 March 2024.

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