High Court rules LSC tender “unfair, unlawful and irrational”

The Law Society has been successful in it’s legal challenge to the LSC’s process for awarding family law contracts. Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Beatson labelled the process "unfair, unlawful and irrational".

The tendering process, which took place several months ago, had drastically reduced the number of legal aid family law providers across the country from 2,400 to 1,300. According to the court the reason that so few firms had been awarded contracts was that the he LSC had withheld information which would have allowed them to increase their chances of making a successful tender.

The court condemned the resultant cull of family law firms across the country saying that it would prevent "the vulnerable and deprived from obtaining the services of very well qualified and experienced family lawyers". This, they said, would undermine the objective of the LSC which is to achieve a high-quality legal aid service for the public.

YLAL is pleased that the High Court has highlighted the importance of qualified and experienced lawyers to advise those who are most in need. We call on the Government to reflect these sentiments in its forthcoming review of legal aid. It is simply not good enough that the dwindling pool of people eligible for legal aid – by and large the most vulnerable members of society – should receive a lesser kind of justice then those who can afford to pay for a lawyer privately.

Access the full judgment here.

Read more on the law society’s web site here