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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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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The fight moves on with your help

Posted by - 19th July 2012

‘We have to get the message out, we have to raise the profile of the Access to Justice Foundation (AJF) and ensure we are providing support to the pro bono legal advice sector at this challenging time,’ says Ruth Daniel. In January 2012, the Access to Justice Foundation (AJF) appointed their first full time chief

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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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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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