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Judge criticises Legal Aid Agency

A family court judge has criticised the Government agency responsible for making decisions on legal aid for the second time in six months.

Judge Clifford Bellamy's latest complaint about the Legal Aid Agency centred on "adequacy of training" for staff.

His criticism came in a ruling after a hearing of a case at a family court in Leicester involving a six-year-old boy whose parents are embroiled in a custody fight.

In March, he complained of the agency being "unhelpful" in a similar case involving four children.

Judge Bellamy said in both cases he had been asked to decide whether a mother could take a child or children on holiday to India while litigation was on-going.

He said in both cases his criticism related to the conduct of the agency when dealing with an application for authority to incur fees charged by an expert witness.

In June, a High Court judge raised concerns about legal aid provision in cases involving vulnerable people.

Mr Justice Mostyn said he was sometimes concerned that the ideology driving the agency was ''resist wherever possible''.

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