The day after the election, there is no news yet on the new team at the MoJ – there will be at least one new minister, with Simon Hughes having lost his seat and the Lib Dems going into opposition. It seems, no doubt to the delight of legal aid lawyers everywhere, that Chris Grayling has said that he wants to stay as Justice Secretary:
— Epsom Guardian (@epsomguardian) May 8, 2015
Whoever is in charge at the MoJ, it seems unlikely that there will be significant changes in legal aid policy or at the LAA. The Conservatives have simply promised to “review” the legal aid system, so that it can “continue to provide access to justice in an efficient way”.
- it is fundamentally flawed, but that the LAA is in institutional denial about those flaws;
- some functionality has been poorly implemented, and some missed altogether;
- the system gets some of the basics wrong and ignores LAA and legal requirements.
The ACL warns that the system will lead to more inefficiencies and delays in payments, seriously affecting the cashflow of providers. Supported by the Law Society, LAPG and others, it calls on the LAA to delay implementation until the problems are fixed. Many practitioners who have used the system in the pilot and voluntary stages will know that it is currently far from providing access to justice in an efficient way.