Tag Archive | "Fair Crime Contracts Alliance Ltd"

More delay in the legal aid contract dispute


A group of 65 firms, including successful as well as unsuccessful bidders, came together under the title Fair Crime Contracts Alliance Ltd. The Alliance sought an application for urgent consideration and expedition. The High Court was to consider whether to grant permission for judicial review of the government’s tender for new legal aid contracts amid questions about whether the parties have sufficient standing to bring proceedings.

The High Court granted permission for judicial review of the government’s tender for new legal aid contracts. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

High court gives green light to legal aid contract challenge


Litigation over the government’s award of new criminal legal aid contracts was never going to be straightforward. The lord chancellor made application for a possible group litigation order. Mr Justice Stuart-Smith did not grant the order but made specific rulings on how to proceed.

A group of 65 firms, including successful as well as unsuccessful bidders, came together under the title Fair Crime Contracts Alliance Ltd,. The Alliance sought an application for urgent consideration and expedition. The High Court was to consider whether to grant permission for judicial review of the government’s tender for new legal aid contracts amid questions about whether the parties have sufficient standing to bring proceedings.

On Monday the High Court granted permission for judicial review of the government’s tender for new legal aid contracts.

The Fair Crime Contracts Alliance, which represents law firms that bid for contracts, was granted permission subject to providing £40,000 security for costs. The lord chancellor will be permitted to apply for more costs after 11 January 2016.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said a second claimant, the London Borough of Newham, did not have sufficient standing to bring JR proceedings.

The High Court is also dealing with 115 procurement law challenges. But Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said there was ‘no doubt’ that the remedy being asked for in the judicial review was ‘wider’ and ‘more nuclear.’ The full hearing is likely to take place in January.

There are now three whistleblowers who have spoken out about the LAA’s highly controversial contract procurement process. The original whistleblower, Freddie Hurlston, a bid assessor and former LAA senior manager, went to the ‘Gazette’ to make public his concerns about the ‘botched’ tender process. The justice secretary dismissed Hurlston’s concerns as ‘merely one voice’.

Then Paul Staples came forward. He has been involved in over a dozen public procurement exercises in a range of sectors. He revealed that he had less than an hour’s training before he began assessing bids and received no training at all for his role as a moderator. “From day one I wasn’t happy with the process,” he said. “I was of the opinion that this was not a professional way of doing things. There were questions from the start.”

Now there is a third whistleblower. Jason Coppel QC, for the alliance, told the court: “This man wanted to help, he still wants to help, but he’s being threatened by the LAA with the consequences including, I understand, litigation if he gives a statement in the JR proceedings.”

Stuart-Smith told the court that, if a “properly detailed” complaint of “improper pressure” were to be placed before the court, “the court would be provided to rule on it.”

The Legal Aid Agency continues to say it would “robustly defend” any legal challenge.

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)


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