Following on from the publication of the government’s response and the Bill, the LSC have announced that the fee reductions for civil and criminal work, and experts, will come into effect on 3rd October 2011.
Although the announcement on the LSC website does not make this clear, it seems that this does not apply to family fees, or to fees for housing lawyers operating under family and housing contracts, since the government consultation response states that family and family with housing reductions will apply from February 2012 (a clear pointer to plans for retendering for family and family with housing contracts) – see para 255 on p62, and para 237 of Annex H, of the consultation response.
The position for housing fees for those operating under social welfare contracts – October or February implementation of the cut – is yet to be clarified. Para 255 states that the government wants to introduce the fee changes in October but is still considering whether it is feasible to do so. Why should one set of housing lawyers – whose firm doesn’t do family work too – have a fee cut 4 months earlier than another set of housing lawyers, simply because the latter firms do do family? On the other hand, why should housing lawyers (and family for that matter) have a fee cut 4 months later than everyone else? This is just one of the many internal inconsistencies and practical problems with implementation that will become apparent over the coming months.
The full schedule of revised fees can be found on the MoJ website (PDF).