Judgment was handed down yesterday in the JR taken by the crime practitioner representative bodies. The challenge was not successful.
Although there was some criticism of the Legal Aid Agency’s handling of issues in relation to financial support for firms, Lord Justice Laws said: ‘I should conclude without hesitation that the scheme is proportionate. It is accepted on all hands that consolidation in the legal aid market is needed, if legal aid is to be provided at reduced fees. It may reasonably be concluded that this is a proper way to achieve it.’
Permission to appeal was refused but the injunction suspending the tender remains in place until 27 February 2015, to enable the claimants to seek leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal. The grounds of appeal can be found here.
In the meantime, the LAA has stated that it intends to resume the tender as soon as possible.