In this update:
- Law Society challenge to fees cuts fails
- Amendments to criminal legal aid
- LSC to reduce contributions to cost of accreditation
- New consultation on future of specialist support
- LSC introduces email protocol
- Tips to avoid bill rejects
Law Society challenge to fee cut fails
The High Court gave judgement on Friday in the Law Society’s judicial review of the removal of committal fees in either way cases. The Law Society have said that they are considering whether to appeal.
Amendments to criminal legal aid
The Criminal Defence Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order 2012 comes into force for representation orders dated on or after 2nd April. The Order amends payment for criminal work and will be the subject of a separate post later this week.
LSC reduces cost of contributions
The LSC has cut by half the amount it will contribute towards accreditation and re-accrediation for the various schemes and panels. There is a table on the LSC website setting out the amount payable for each of the schemes. This is a transitional move towards removing contributions altogether from March 2013, and therefore practitioners who have the need for accreditation or re-accreditation coming up should try to do so in the coming financial year.
New consultation on future of specialist support
Having conceded a claim for judicial reviewchallenging their decision to end the specialist support scheme, the LSC has now issued a consultation on the scheme’s future. Unsurprisingly, the proposal is to end the scheme. Existing contract holders have had their contracts extended until 30th June 2012. Contact details for each of the providers are below. All are open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.
- Community Care – Public Law Solicitors, 0845 140 5006
- Debt – Citizens Advice, 0808 808 2575
- Employment – Citizens Advice, 0808 808 3681
- Housing – Shelter, 0844 515 2113 (England), Shelter Cymru 0845 602 3449 (Wales)
- Immigration – Wilson Solicitors, 0845 677 2205
- Mental Health – Scott Moncrieff, 0844 800 3364
- Public Law – The Public Law Project, 0808 808 4546
- Welfare Benefits – Child Poverty Action Group, 0845 612 8007 (England), LASA, 0845 271 3230 (Wales)
The consultation can be found here, and closes on 11th May 2012.
LSC introduces email protocol
Civil practitioners looking to contact the LSC have already faced restrictions on the use of the telephone; now follows restrictions on the use of email. The LSC have created an “email protocol” setting out when they will accept contact by email in respect both of individual cases and more general queries, and have also issued a reminder of when phone will be allowed.
Avoiding bill rejects
The LSC have produced tips for criminal practitioners submitting litigator fee claims.