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Tag Archive | "Bill Waddington"

Legal aid contract announcement

The MoJ never lose the ability to leave you speechless.

The announcement of winners of new legal aid contracts was promised by the end of September. Firms were expecting to be told last week via the Legal Aid Agency’s Bravo e-tendering portal whether they have won one of a reduced number of contracts to provide 24-hour cover at police stations. But what a cliffhanger that turned out to be. We were told Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday. On Wednesday we were told “soon” On Thursday we were told “by the end of the week.” Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Justice secretary offers to suspend latest cut in fees

Justice secretary Michael Gove has offered to suspend the latest 8.75% legal aid fee cut imposed on criminal law solicitors.

A second 8.75% fee cut was introduced on 1 July, which prompted thousands of solicitors to boycott legal aid work under the new rate. The boycott was called off in August.

Gove’s conciliatory gesture follows a fresh round of talks last week between Ministry of Justice officials, the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA), the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA). and the Big Firms Group. A member of the Criminal Bar Association attended as an observer. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Deadline for legal aid bid survey extended by three weeks

The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) has asked firms to confirm their willingness to withdraw their bids for the government’s new contracts to provide 24-hour cover at police stations, to commence on 11 January next year, “if sufficient bidding firms in that area indicated they would do the same.”

It has also asked for confirmation from bidders which it said “have already reached a decision to refuse their tender offer” as well as firms that have not submitted bids. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Lawyers suspend legal aid action

On Friday 21 August Bill Waddington of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and Jon Black of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) issued a joint statement.

It stated: “For 52 days Solicitors and Barristers across the country have stood firm against the second cut. In recent weeks, the leaders of the Practitioner Groups have had the opportunity to engage with the MoJ and by so doing, have been able to provide ideas for long term savings as a direct alternative to a cut in rates. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

News from the front

On the second day of nationwide protests against new contracts and fee cuts it was announced that criminal solicitors voted overwhelmingly in favour of individual direct action over the government’s legal aid cuts. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (1)

Big firms support legal aid protest action

The Big Firms Group, an alliance of over 30 large criminal legal aid firms that do around 25% of criminal legal aid work, said it would support individual direct action after a meeting held last week. Members of the Big Firms Group have sought advice from Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC on the action.

Bill Waddington, chair of the CLS, said the Big Firms Group’s decision sends out the ‘strongest signal’ that the legal profession has had enough of the government’s legal aid policy, which he said was driving legal aid firms and their staff into financial ruin. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Gove to challenge the “dangerous inequality at the heart of our system”

In a speech given today at the Legatum Institute, justice secretary Michael Gove said that there will be further court closures as he seeks to build a more efficient and streamlined justice system.

The government is reviewing the existing court estate and will shut those that are not running close to capacity. The government closed 142 courts in the last parliament. “It makes more sense to deliver a more efficient court estate than, for example, make further big changes to the legal aid system,’ he said. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Law, Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Gove doesn’t care either: Next steps for the criminal legal aid market

Yesterday Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Courts and Legal Aid, presented a written statement to the House of Commons to confirm next steps for the criminal legal aid market.

He said: “There is a pressing need to ensure our criminal justice system performs more efficiently” and “there is no doubt we still have a generous system compared to other countries. The continuing need to reduce the deficit means that we must make further progress. We must secure greater efficiencies whilst maintaining a high quality service and guaranteeing that everyone accused of a crime has the same access to a legal aid lawyer as they do now.” Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Criminal Bar Association vote for direct action

The election results will have brought little joy to legal aid and criminal lawyers.

Although none of the parties, other than the Greens, had promised to reverse all the £600m of legal aid cuts inflicted by the coalition government, Labour had pledged to halt the deeply unpopular tendering process for duty solicitors covering police stations and magistrates courts, as well as reviewing a scheduled 8.75% cut in the fees they receive. The party also indicated it would improve access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence and overturn restrictions on judicial review. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal JusticeComments (0)

Legal Aid Judicial Review

A last-ditch challenge to the lord chancellor’s legal aid reforms was thrown out by the High Court on Tuesday. The Law Society and practitioner groups are seeking an appeal.

Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Cranston heard challenges last month by the Law Society and practitioner groups the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) to Chris Grayling’s decision to press ahead with two-tier contracts for criminal legal aid. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

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