Tag Archives: Actions against the police etc

Conditional funding for judicial review irrational, High Court says

Part of the government’s “transforming legal aid” agenda was to “restore public confidence” in the operation of judicial review by ensuring that only meritorious cases were brought. The method chosen to achieve that was to make payment for judicial review work conditional on permission being granted by the court (with limited exceptions, at the discretion of the LAA). Regulations to that effect came into force on 22 April 2014.

Four solicitors firms – Ben Hoare Bell, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Mackintosh Law and Public Law Solicitors – and the housing charity Shelter challenged the regulations. The claimants represent the range of judicial review work, covering between them work across categories such as immigration, housing, community care, public law and actions against the police, and were supported by witness evidence from a number of other organisations.

The High Court gave judgment today in Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v The Lord Chancellor [2015] EWHC 523 (Admin). The grounds of challenge were that a) the Lord Chancellor had no power to make the regulations introducing conditional funding; b) the regulations were inconsistent with the statutory purpose of LASPO; and c) that they would have a chilling effect on access to the courts, because providers would not be able to risk taking on work without payment.

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, Civil, Community Care, Costs, Housing, Immigration, LASPO, Public Law

Good news if you need NMS

The LAA has issued new guidance to its Contract Managers which may make it easier for practitioners to get more civil New Matter Starts (NMS) if they run out.

This is less of an issue than it used to be under the Access to Justice Act scheme when more Controlled Work was done; but we still hear reports from some practitioners that they have run out of NMS and when they asked their Contract Manager for more, were told that another practice in their Procurement Area (PA) still had some, so they should send the client there. This is clearly unsatisfactory from both the client’s and the practice’s point of view.

However, from 22 January 2015, whether another practice in the PA has NMS is no longer to be taken into account.

You will need to convince your Contract Manager:

  • you are unable to meet an urgent demand for your services
  • or
  • an urgent need arises because another practice has reduced or stopped providing the service
  • or
  • there is a general increase in demand for services of that type in your PA

The Contract Manager can authorise up to another 50% on top of your original schedule allocation (so if your initial allocation was 100, you can be awarded up to 50 more that year).

If you applied for a lot size in the tender that allowed you to self grant up to an additonal 50%, you cannot apply to your Contract Manager for more.

In exceptional circumstances, the Contract Manager may be able to grant additional NMS to address emergency situations.

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, Civil, Family, Housing, Immigration, Mental Health, Public Law, Social welfare

Civil tender FAQs published

The LAA today published the FAQs for the current civil tender for clinical negligence, public law and actions against the police etc contracts. Bidders will need to consider them carefully before submission of the tender.

The tender closes at noon on 23 January 2015.

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, Civil, Clinical Negligence, LASPO, Public Law

Civil contracts tender opens today

As we reported a month ago, a tender for contracts in actions against the police etc, clinical negligence and public law opens today. The tender closes on 23 January and contracts will start on 1 November 2015.

The LAA has now published the Information for Applicants and the contract documents.

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Tender update

More news on a couple of ongoing or upcoming tenders:

  • The LAA has published an advert for the forthcoming clinical negligence, public law and actions against the police tenders. The tender opens on 1 December and closes on 23 January 2015.
  • The final FAQ for the current mediation tender has been published. This tender closes at noon on 31 October 2014. Remember that this tender is only for new entrants; existing mediation contract holders don’t need to apply unless they want to open additional locations.

 

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, Civil, Clinical Negligence, Family, Public Law

Civil tenders announced

The LAA has announced that it will open tenders in December for contracts in actions against the police, clinical negligence and public law. Contracts will run from November 2015.

It has published a headline intentions document. It confirms that it will be a non-competitive process, with all applicants meeting the tender requirements being awarded a contract. The requirements will include:

  • Lexcel or SQM held by contract start date
  • Supervisor:caseworker ratio of 1:4, with an amended clinical negligence supervisor standard
  • 7 procurement areas rather than the existing 12.

Matter starts in clinical negligence will be unrestricted. In actions against the police and public law, there will be two lots. Bidders in the lower lot will be guaranteed the matter starts they bid for. Bidders in the higher lot (for which there will be additional requirements) will be allocated at least the minimum volume for the lot.

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Mental Health, Public Law, Actions Against the Police etc., Clinical Negligence, Community Care Contracts – What’s happening?

Practitioners in the above categories will be aware that they were not included in the tender process last year. They are still on the 2010 version of the Standard Civil Contarct, although of course not immune from the impact of LASPO.

Their contracts were extended until March 2014, so the LAA needs to do something about the continuation of their contracts fairly soon if it is to re-tender them.

At the LAPG conference on 11 October, Hugh Barratt, the LAA’s Director of Legal Aid Commissioning and Strategy, was asked what was going to happen. He said that the LAA would be making a decision before Christmas and the LAA would provide more information in November.

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