Roll out of controversial online processing system delayed until new year

Abstract Multicolor Network BackgroundThe government has is to delay the imposition of its new online processing system following repeated warnings from legal aid lawyers and costs experts. The Client and Cost Management System (CCMS), which was originally intended to be made mandatory from October 2015, is now due to come into force in February 2016.

Last month the Association of Costs Lawyers argued that, unless glitches were sorted, payments for legal aid lawyers risked being ‘seriously delayed’ with dire consequences for firms.

‘We welcome the delay to making CCMS compulsory, and the six improvements that the LAA has committed to is a good start,’ commented the chairman of the ACL’s legal aid group Paul Seddon. ‘However, there is a long way to go in comparatively very little time to make the many more changes needed so that this system is fit for use. A great deal of commitment to making real change is required of the LAA in order to meet the new deadline.’

Writing for LegalVoice, Seddon pointed out that £50m had already been spent and complained of public money being spent on a system that is ‘not improving the delivery of legal services to the public‘.  It was also reported that LAPG director Carol Storer, who had spent over two years working with the LAA, had said she would have no choice but to resign if the problems were not sorted. ‘I could not, in all conscience, stay in my post as director of the profession’s representative body, if the LAA goes ahead with CCMS in its current form,’ Storer said.



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