Comfort in numbers: is there any point in joining a franchise?

Posted by - 28th August 2012

With competition hotting up in the legal sector, firms are looking for comfort in numbers, writes Elizabeth Davidson. The options available include joining a franchise like face2face or QualitySolicitors, a network like highstreetlawyer or a marketing venture like lawyers2u. (Pic: Amanda Holden at the launch of QualitySolicitors’ legal access points – the idea is to

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LSC overpayments: inflated claims or errors in paperwork?

Posted by - 25th July 2012

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has overpaid legal aid lawyers by some £20.4m in the last year (it was £28.3m in the prior year), while a further £15m has been spent on clients whose eligibility is not proven, writes Elizabeth Davidson. The discrepancies, highlighted in a National Audit Commission (NAO) report this month (July), mean

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Spending watchdog refuses LSC clean bill of health for fourth year

Posted by - 17th July 2012

The National Audit Office reported that legal aid lawyers were overpaid by over £20m last year, plus £15 million went on funding costs for people who did not appear to have been eligible for the help. The spending watchdog refused to give the Legal Services Commission a clean bill of health for the fourth year

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£29.99 a year insurance policy to cover defence costs

Posted by - 12th July 2012

A criminal barrister has launched an insurance policy for defendants facing ‘staggering’ legal fees for their defence in the Crown court following changes to legal aid funding, writes Elizabeth Davidson. Low and middle-income earners charged with a criminal offence often struggle to pay their contributions to their defence. Some are opting to dispense with legal

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A culture of disbelief

Posted by - 4th July 2012

Lawyers who deal with asylum claims are likely to be thin on the ground as a result of the legal aid cuts and the consequences for women asylum-seekers, in particular, will be ‘catastrophic’, charities have warned – writes Elizabeth Davidson. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act retains legal aid for asylum but

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LawWorks awards 2012: results

Posted by - 4th July 2012

Congratulations to all this year’s LawWorks pro bono award winners. LegalVoice sponsored the firm of the year award – won by Linklaters. The panel of judges included Baroness Patricia Scotland; John Wotton, president of the Law Society; Joshua Rozenberg, journalist; and Hekim Hannan for the Junior Lawyers Division pro bono award. The City law firm

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All out: should solicitors join the Bar in a strike?

Posted by - 26th June 2012

Criminal Bar Association (CBA) chair Max Hill QC is standing by his threat of industrial action but has ruled out the prospect of barristers striking before September. Last month (May), Hill told assembled practitioners attending a CBA annual dinner that a survey of its members had shown nearly nine out of ten were willing to

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Rethinking access to justice

Posted by - 22nd June 2012

‘City’s aid sought for post-LASPO project,’ announced the Law Society earlier this month. Apparently, Chancery Lane is seeking the backing of City firms for (in its words) ‘a high-profile initiative aimed at helping high street practices and their clients meet the challenges posed by legal aid cuts’. The Society’s vice-president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff discusses the group’s

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QASA – and what it means to you

Posted by - 20th June 2012

New rules for solicitors (and registered European lawyers) who want to undertake criminal advocacy form January 2013 will require them to notify the Solicitors Regulation Authority under the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime) arrangements, writes Anne-Marie Lynch. The scheme opens on July 2nd 2012 and will be open for notifications until 21st September 2012.

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Chancery Lane calls on City to launch post-LASPO fightback

Posted by - 15th June 2012

The Law Society is in discussion with City law firms over a number of ideas to ‘plug the gap’ post-Laspo, including ‘strategic litigation’, monitoring of public bodies and a privately funded CLAF, writes Elizabeth Davidson. An initial meeting was held last week between representatives from the Law Society, pro bono and corporate responsibility departments of

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