The double whammy: welfare reforms and LASPO cuts

Posted by - 15th November 2012

Universal credit – due to be introduced next October – will bring together a range of benefits and credits into one system, and aims to ensure people are financially better off in work than out, writes Elizabeth Davidson. According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), it will be a simpler, more streamlined benefits

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Housing: between a rock and a hard place

Posted by - 13th November 2012

Desperation among local authority housing departments is running so high that homeless families are regularly told they can be given accommodation only if their children go into care, writes Elizabeth Davidson. This shocking response on the part of the authorities is clearly a fob-off given that this would not only breach their legal duties but

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Hugh Barrett: ‘We’re expecting test cases.’

Posted by - 7th November 2012

INTERVIEW: Next April represents a seismic shift in the legal aid world. It’s not only the LASPO cuts but the Legal Services Commission is going to be subsumed into the Ministry of Justice. Jon Robins speaks to Hugh Barrett, director of legal aid commissioning and contract management at the LSC. ‘The timetable is as of

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Turning tide: The Aarhus Convention and environmental justice

Posted by - 1st November 2012

An Advocate General’s Opinion on costs in a case last week has cheered up environmental campaigners no end, writes Elizabeth Davidson. The otherwise unglamorous European Court of Justice case (about a cement works) foreshadows future legislative and judicial help for those who find themselves priced out of legal action. Money acts as a powerful deterrent

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Peter Herbert on plans for a breakaway black football players’ association

Posted by - 25th October 2012

Professional footballers have been involved in preliminary discussions about setting up a black players’ association with the help of the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), following a series of racism scandals in the sport, writes Elizabeth Davidson. Discussions are at an ‘early stage’ and involve ‘only a small number of players and football industry staff’,

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Blame game: when legal aid gets political

Posted by - 23rd October 2012

Political interference in the granting of legal aid – whether actual or suspected by members of the public – could become a genuine concern for the government after next April. Should public money be denied cases brought against government departments or that involve unpopular characters or controversial issues, ministers’ impartiality in the decision-making process may

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ITT Deadline: Midday, Monday October 22

Posted by - 18th October 2012

The response deadline for ITTs for face-to-face contracts in the following categories of law is midday on Monday 22 October 2012: Family Housing & Debt Immigration & Asylum Organisations that do not tender for work by the deadline will be unable to undertake legal aid work in the above categories of law from 1 April

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Roger Smith: ‘We may be poorer but we must be smarter’

Posted by - 18th October 2012

In a retort to Lord McNally’s recent exhortation to legal aid lawyers to ‘move on from LASPO’, the outgoing director of JUSTICE Roger Smith called for ‘radical change’. Roger Smith, who will be replaced by Andrea Coomber as of February 2013, gave his lecture on Tuesday – entitled ‘After LASPO: what future for legal aid?’

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McNally: LASPO was ‘bruising for all’

Posted by - 15th October 2012

LAPG CONFERENCE REPORT: ‘LASPO was bruising for everyone concerned, but I hope – whatever the disagreements of the past – we can all agree that the priority now is to look to the future.’ Lord McNally, the new minister for legal aid, told delegates at the Legal Aid Practitioners Group annual conference last Friday at

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East London advice sector hit by 60% budget cuts

Posted by - 11th October 2012

East London advice agencies have been left fearing for their future after an expected six per cent budget cut was — without warning — accelerated to 60 per cent by Tower Hamlets council, writes Elizabeth Davidson. The cut potentially affects a dozen advice agencies – including Bromley by Bow Centre, East End Citizens Advice, Tower

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