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How competent are you?

New entrants to the law might soon be measured in a different way to see if they are up to the job of being a solicitor. 

Legal aid news - 12 Jan 2015

· A further challenge to the government’s criminal legal aid reforms has been brought by the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) and the Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA). As reported by the Law Society Gazette, the hearing will take place in the Administrative Court on 15 and 16 January. A separate challenge has also been initiated by the Law Society.

APG on legal aid: crime

The first meeting of the All Party Group on Legal Aid for 2015 will take place on Tuesday 13 January. More details are here.

 

NAO report on legal aid cuts

In November 2014, the National Audit Office (‘NAO’) published a report of their findings into the impact of the changes to legal aid made under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). You can read the full report here. The function of the NAO is to assist Parliament in holding the government to account, and ensure that the nation is spending wisely.

Lords Amendments on JR Defeated

 

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is going through the final parliamentary stages before it becomes law. Part 4 of the Bill proposes significant changes to the judicial review procedure. The House of Lords had passed amendments to the Bill on 27 October, which campaigners and lawyers welcomed. However, on 1 December the House of Commons rejected those amendments, putting back into the Bill changes that could have a chilling effect on people’s ability to access justice.

Criminal cuts go ahead

Government response to duty contract consultation

The Government has announced its intention to press ahead with plans to dramatically reduce the number of legal aid contracts allowing criminal defence firms to represent suspects in the police station, while also cutting fees by a further 8.75%. These changes are likely to lead to the closure of many criminal defence firms, while making it ever more difficult for new and aspiring lawyers, particularly those from less well-off backgrounds, to sustain a career in this sector.

CJC bill back in the Lords

 

Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - Judicial Review - back to the House of Lords on 9 December 2014

Legal aid news - 11 Nov 2014

  • Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, accused the government of creating an unthinkable, unconscionable and unjust situation whereby the parents of a two year old boy have to respond to a local authority’s application for their son to be adopted outside the family without legal representation because they are (just) financially ineligible for legal aid.

Justice Select Committee

YLAL committee members Connor Johnston and Carita Thomas gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee as part of their review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Connor appeared on behalf of Garden Court Chambers to talk about housing law and Carita represented the Immigration Law Practitioners Association to discuss the impact of LASPO on her area of work.

You can watch them both give evidence here

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