Beaten To It

Our friends at the LAPG have beaten us to some comments on last weeks avalanche of further consultations:

The Legal Aid Practitioners Group today welcomed, with reservations, the improvements in the structure of the LSC’s proposals for family graduated fees, but expressed continuing serious concern about the rates on offer.
Director Richard Miller said, “The structure set out in these revised proposals is a distinct improvement on the proposals from the Way Ahead document, particularly for care proceedings. Nonetheless, we are still sceptical as to whether fixed fee systems can be appropriate for all family work; and we remain seriously concerned that the rates payable under these proposals will not be sufficient to ensure an adequate supplier base for this work.”
The documents published also included the LSC’s intended scheme for immigration. LAPG committee member and immigration specialist Lawrence Lupin said, “There remain many questions about how the LSC has calculated the proposed payment rates under this scheme. The LSC has so far failed to answer these questions despite repeated requests. Most of the respected practitioners who have seen these figures have concluded that they are not viable. Under these fees, there is no scope to undertake quality work, and clients will suffer even if they are able to find a lawyer.”
Miller also expressed concern about the pace and extent of change. “Today I have downloaded nineteen pdf files from the Legal Services Commission website, including annexes and regulatory impact assessments. This is on top of consultations published earlier this month on police station boundaries and the very high cost criminal case panel, not to mention the negotiations on the new unified contract. I am paid full time to keep on top of the LSC’s initiatives, and I can barely cope with this blizzard of publications. How on earth can any practitioner who is trying to conduct a substantial caseload to a high standard be expected to do so? The sheer volume, speed and extent of the changes is liable to destroy the legal aid system even if the substance doesn’t.”

About Author: SP

2 comments on “Beaten To It