In this update:
- Legal aid judicial reviews
- Legal aid bill in the House of Lords
- Important news for former clients of the Immigration Advisory Service
- Criminal bills
- Family high cost cases
- New LSC addresses
In this update:
Expressions of interest are invited for the following access points:
The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is Monday 15th August 2011 at 4pm. The required forms can be found on the immigration tenders page of the LSC website.
The fallout from the collapse of the Immigration Advisory Service continues. There was an excellent piece in the Guardian this week, pointing out the human cost of the loss of IAS and the wider cuts facing immigration legal aid. Following previous announcements about re-allocation of urgent cases and unused matter starts, the LSC have given an update on progress, promising news on tenders next week.
Criminal duty solicitor rotas for the period July to January have now been posted on the LSC website (a mere month after they started), and the LSC has also confirmed that their Chester office will no longer accept criminal bills. CDS4 and 5 forms should be sent to Nottingham, CDS7s to Nottingham or Liverpool, and CDS4as to Liverpool.
CDS4, 4a, 5 and 7 forms, as well as civil POA1s, can now also be submitted electronically following the roll-out of the LSC’s e-forms initiative. Details on how to sign up can be found here. The LSC argues that the process is quicker and more efficient, and leads to faster payments, than using paper forms.
Finally, ITV’s Tonight programme next week will be called “What Price Justice?”, investigating the impact of the legal aid bill. We understand the focus will be on clinical negligence, but other areas of legal aid will be covered as well. The programme will be broadcast on Thursday 11th August at 7.30pm on ITV1.
The collapse of the IAS has left their existing clients without representation – see our previous post for the LSC’s proposals on re-allocating the 8000 cases with ongoing work. But there is also the impact on future clients – the IAS had 8000 matter starts per year, and in some parts of the country were the dominant or even sole provider of immigration advice. Their absence risks creating huge levels of unmet demand in the coming months and years.
The LSC have therefore announced how they intend to reallocate the unused new matter starts previously awarded to IAS. They have identified 15 key access points, plus Removal Centres. In some, existing providers will simply be able to request additional matters from their contract manager. In others, the LSC will write to all providers who either did not get a contract, or did not get all the matters they bid for, following the 2010 tender exercise and will work down the list using the 2010 rankings allocating matters to those who want them. So, for example, if IAS came first and got 250 matters, provider X came second and got 100 of the 200 they bid for and provider Y came third and got 0 of the 300 they bid for, the LSC will go to X and offer them the additional 100 they bid for, and then go to Y and offer them the 150 left. Where this is not possible, a new tender exercise will be carried out.
Practitioners who want to take on additional matter starts should contact their contract manager in the first instance. The affected access points are: