Most minds will have been focussed this week on the implementation of the fee cuts and the closing of the family tender. It is worth remembering that, for civil certificates, provided the application was signed before 3rd October payment will be at the old rates if the LSC received it before 10th October.
Meanwhile, Justice for All, Sound off for Justice and LAG have published accounts of legal aid fringe meetings at the party conferences. Although there is little to cheer, it is important to keep the pressure up as Parliament returns from recess. The legal aid bill is still in Commons committee; the deadline for submission of evidence is 13th October.
Following the announcement by the Law Society this week that it is to seek judicial review of cuts to criminal fees, there are now at least three challenges to the legal aid reform programme in progress. The Guardian reports speculation that almost the entire ministerial team at the Ministry of Justice is to be sacked; whoever is the legal aid minister over the next few months will face sustained pressure to make concessions. But the pressure for reform looks likely to continue as well, with news of an imminent consultation on criminal competitive tendering. It will probably be of little comfort that all previous consultations on the subject, over almost a decade, have led precisely nowhere.