“This is a resignation issue for me. It is effectively the end of my professional career”

So began a conversation with one of today’s failed appellants, just after she had received the initial notice refusing her firm a contract. With a career lifetime behind her in a Family department delivering and dependant upon, a major Legal Aid contract this is not hyperbole.

She, like perhaps 3 dozen others up and down the UK, committed a Cardinal sin; she answered the utterly unnecessary “Peer Review” question wrongly.


Peer Review results are already in the knowledge of the LSC who administer the scheme. Why do they need to pose a question confirming what they already know?

The number of firms who have received a “confirmed Category 4” result are of such statistical insignificance to render the question redundant.

Perhaps more importantly why was there the need for a “Non Competitive Bid round” in any event. Why not save the time, expense and hassle by simply granting follow on contracts to anyone who wanted one and allowing new firms to set up (if they are foolish enough to want to try and get in to Legal Aid work) at any time. NMS schedules could be distributed on the basis of historical performance. All the essential criteria, complaints, financial performance etc., are subject to normal Contract reporting requirements.

Someone, somewhere, Public Accounts Committee?, should be asking if the cost of this unnecessary exercise was worth it, just to entrap and bar such a small number of willing providers from the Legal Aid scheme.

About Author: SP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *