YLAL update…August 2007

Read here to find out the latest developments in the Legal Aid debate…

YLAL Update – August 2007




Excellent article on Legal Aid.  Comments by Caroline Reagan and Benedict Birnberg






Another letter in the Guardian


Like Neal Lawson, I desperately hope that Gordon Brown will shift to the left, but PFI, flexible labour markets and Iraq are not the only worrying policies. The "market reform" of the legal aid scheme will emasculate a system established by Clement Attlee’s Labour government as a key pillar of the welfare state. This will dramatically reduce access to justice for the most deprived members of society, whilst savage cuts to the criminal legal aid budget can only increase the risk of miscarriages of justice. While the government claims the reforms are an essential response to rising costs, the Highways Agency proposes to spend £2.5bn on a controversial scheme to widen 50 miles of the M1 – about as much as the annual legal aid budget. Anyone who cares about social justice should join the fight to save legal aid.
Simon Natas
Irvine Thanvi Natas solicitors




The Government have laid several regulations introducing the new regime of fixed fees.  These are set to come into force without parliamentary scrutiny as Parliament is currently in recess until the beginning of October.


We are asking MPs to sign up to the Early Day Motion below to ask for proper scrutiny of these regulations.  We will send a template letter out to our mailing list and we would ask you to write to your MP about this matter as soon as possible.


That this House notes the Government’s intention imminently to lay The Community Legal Service (Costs) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, The Community Legal Service (Funding) (Counsel in Family Proceedings) (Amendment) Order 2007, The Community Legal Service (Financial) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2007 and The Community Legal Service (Funding) Order 2007; expresses deep concern that, despite widespread anxiety about the effect of the regulations on the part of the legal profession, among voluntary and not-for-profit providers and across all sides of the House, they are set to come into force on 1st October and will therefore be laid without any opportunity for Parliament to debate them in advance; calls on the Government to delay the coming into force of the regulations to allow time for Parliament, if it so desires, to debate the regulations before they take effect; and urges the Government to invite all relevant stakeholders to a meeting to discuss an alternative approach to legal aid, which continues to meet the Government’s requirements, but does not threaten the sustainability of legal aid nor access to justice for vulnerable people.


Law Society


The Courts have ruled that the Government had breached Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and European Law in its reform of legal aid.



Legal Aid Practitioners Group


Richard Miller, Director of the LAPG, is to leave the group to take up a position at the Law Society.  He will be continuing his valuable work responding to Government consultations and fighting for the future of legal aid from within the Law Society.  The LAPG is now looking for a new director.




Legal Services Commission


The LSC has published new specifications to the Unified Civil Contract and to the Family mediation specifications.




Legal Services Commission – Annual Report