Two reports find legal aid plans amount to serious risk
The Constitutional Affairs Committee Report was published today along with a press notice emphasising its conclusion that the changes will place access to justice in serious risk:
SERIOUS RISK FOR ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN LEGAL AID PLANS, SAYS COMMITTEE
Response of the LSC:
"We are continuing to work towards implementation of various elements of the legal aid reform programme in October as planned. This will ensure that providers have information about the schemes as early as possible. However, we recognise that Ministers will need to consider and respond to the Select Committee’s report during the coming weeks."
CLSA Chair, Ian Kelcey stated:
The Select Committee draws attention to the fragility of the supplier base, and with particular reference to best value tendering, the Committee notes, “neither the LSC nor the DCA appear to have confidence in the central premise upon which the reforms are based”. That lack of confidence is shared by the profession. This report provides an ideal opportunity for the government to pause and rethink its proposals before it’s too late.
Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group press release warmly welcomed the Constitutional Affairs Committee report into the Government’s legal aid changes, noting that the report calls on the Government to halt its programme until there is an evidence base to justify it, to scrap the move to fixed fees, and to pilot any changes before rolling them out across the whole country.
Law Society report! – read in full here
In addition an independent economic analysis report also published today by the Law Society, says that as many as 800 firms will close if the proposals go through in their current form and that additional investment is necessary to avoid the risk of seriously disrupting legal aid supply.
Read the Law Society’s press release which covers both reports