The government will launch a helpline next week to help unrepresented defendants in the Crown Court find a lawyer. The Legal Aid Agency has also warned defence lawyers taking part in direct action that they must ‘meet their professional requirements and contractual responsibilities’.
An LAA spokesman told the Law Society’s Gazette that it was ‘speaking to providers about how we can provide information on options for any clients who are seeking legal representation for Crown court hearings. This would not affect the allocation of police station own-client or duty work’.
The new LAA telephone service will ‘provide information for legal aid clients seeking litigation services for Crown Court cases’. The number will also be available to for courts to assist unrepresented defendants. ‘Firms who wish to make their services available through the new phone line can continue to contact LAA through their contract manager,’ the LAA says.
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