criminal legal aid changes on hold until January …

The LSC has today placed on hold all forthcoming "Carter" reforms in relation to criminal legal aid. In a recent judicial review lead by the Law Society it was held that contract changes that altered the "economic balance" of the new unified contract are not lawful. Whilst this related to the unified civil contract, the same principles apply to the general criminal contract and the General Criminal Contract was entered into some time before the legal aid reform programme was announced and providers would not have been aware of the proposed reforms at the time they signed. Because of this and the uncertainty arising from the Unified Contract judgment, the LSC will not now issue the notice of amendment but will rather put the criminal contract on hold pending their appeal.


Read about the new criminal contract going on until January hold here:


Read about the LSC’s decision to appeal the High Court ruling


It is obviously slightly odd that despite the fact that the Law Society’s JR was determined in July, this announcement has only taken place today.  Telephone inquiries with the LSC suggest that this is simply because the Commission has taken legal advice and has only now decided to appeal that judgment.  Given that they are appealing it, it is presumably sensible for them to put the contract on hold (although there could be legitimate questions about why this should not have been announced earlier pending their legal advice!)