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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LALYs 2012: ‘No time to walk away’

Posted by - 14th June 2012

Doreen Lawrence OBE and solicitor Imran Khan were both recognised for their contribution to justice at the 2012 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards. Imran Khan, the solicitor who began representing Doreen Lawrence and her family two days after Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1993, was presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement. Doreen

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LegalVoice launch: ‘Be positive. Stay angry.’

Posted by - 13th June 2012

‘The fight isn’t over,’ Lord Willy Bach, told guests at the formal launch of LegalVoice. There was always ‘substantial danger’ that following a fierce political battle ‘the world soon forgets the major issues of principle involved’. ‘This plays into the government’s hands who do not want reminding of embarrassing and outrageous decisions. Part of our

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Biggest ever turnout for legal walk

Posted by - 25th May 2012

There was a record-breaking show of support for this year’s London Legal Walk earlier this week. On Monday night some 6,054 walkers raised £525,000 completing 10km sponsored walk for the legally aided advice sector in London and the South East. One high street firm – Lovell Chohan in Houslow, Middlesex – raised over £17,000. The

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Strike call: Barristers threaten ‘ultimate weapon’

Posted by - 23rd May 2012

Barristers should consider ‘the ultimate weapon’ and threaten strike action over legal aid cuts and delays to their payments, argued the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association last week. A new survey of over 1,600 CBA members found almost nine out of 10 respondents (89%) were willing to take direct action. Speaking at the group’s

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