‘If people want a Rottweiler, they can go somewhere else.’

Posted by - 4th October 2012

‘We, and all other advice agencies, need to work together. We will continue to offer legal aid for as long as we can. We might well be the last man standing when it comes to legal aid.’ Christina Blacklaws, director of family law with the Co-operative Legal Services, speaks to Jon Robins. The Co-op last

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Weekend court plans in ‘chaos’

Posted by - 27th September 2012

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to pilot Sunday magistrates’ courts have been hit by a technical hitch after prisons said they could not accept new prisoners on that day, writes Elizabeth Davidson. However, its pilot of full-day Saturday courts is still on schedule to begin in the Manchester area this weekend, despite vocal opposition from

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Law firm franchises: ‘It’s not rocket science. Firms can do it themselves.’

Posted by - 20th September 2012

Face2face, QualitySolicitors, Lawyers2u, highstreetlawyer… the list of law firm networks, franchising operations and collective marketing ventures is growing as the profession steers a tricky course through recession-hit Britain, liberalisation of legal services and the fallout from LASPO, writes Elizabeth Davidson Part one of this article looked at the options available for legal aid firms who

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Major reshuffle sees legal aid lawyer join MoJ

Posted by - 7th September 2012

Ken Clarke and Jonathan Djanogly are out of the Ministry of Justice following this week’s reshuffle. Chris Grayling has become the first non-lawyer lord chancellor since 1558 and legal aid lawyer Helen Grant becomes a justice minister. Pic by Francesca Moore Djanogly, who has faced a stream of revelations about his financial interests as well

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Plans for tenders for face-to-face contracts out

Posted by - 4th September 2012

The Legal Services Commission last week published its procurement plans ahead of invitations to tender (ITTs) for face-to-face contracts. The LSC will be opening tenders for contracts from April 2013 in the following categories of law: Family Housing Immigration & Asylum Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme The plans are available HERE. The ITTs will open

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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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