Tag Archives: news

Immigration Advisory Service goes into administration

It appears that the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) has gone into administration.

IAS is a national charity providing legally aided and low cost privately funded immigration, asylum and nationality advice and representation, operating from 29 locations in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Law Society Gazette carried the story, which was confirmed by an LSC spokesperson, although the IAS itself has not yet issued a statement.


Filed under Civil, Immigration

LSC announcements week ending 24th June 2011

As well as the obvious, a couple of additional matters were announced by the LSC this week. They issued a reminder that clients who have an interest in a trust must declare it, and that failure to do so could lead to revocation of a certificate. Meanwhile, the saga of criminal advocacy payments continues; the LSC have now issued a briefing paper on their IT changes and “recovery plan”. Advocacy payments are not the only area where the LSC’s processing performance is woeful. Civil practitioners will find little to cheer in the news that bill processing is currently running at 10 weeks and certificate applications at 6 weeks (8 for family). The LSC’s service standards can be found here and the complaints procedure is here.


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Filed under Advocacy, Civil, Costs, Crime, Family, Immigration, Social welfare

The case for legal aid

In February, Young Legal Aid Lawyers and the Haldane Society convened a Commission of Inquiry at the House of Commons into whether there was a case for legal aid. The report of the Commission – composed not of lawyers or users of legal aid, but of an independent panel – has now been published the Jures website. They considered submissions for and against legal aid, as well as personal testimony, and the result is a serious and timely rebuttal of much of the government’s case for legal aid reform. The full report, Unequal Before the Law, is available on the Jures website, and its director, Jon Robins, has written about it for The Guardian.

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Filed under Articles, Civil, Crime, Family, Immigration, Policy, Social welfare

LSC announcements and news round-up week ending 10th June 2011

It was widely anticipated that there would be an announcement on legal aid reform on Wednesday of this week, but the controversy over Ken Clarke’s sentencing reforms rather overtook events. The plan was for there to be a single Justice Bill covering sentencing reform, legal aid reform and other justice matters and so the prime minister’s apparent veto of the proposal to offer an increased discount for early guilty pleas meant no announcement in any area.

The news lead to real concerns that, if savings were lost from the prison budget, they might have to be made up from elsewhere in the MoJ budget, including further cuts to legal aid. Thankfully, the Gazette has now reported that Ken Clarke has confirmed that there will be no further cuts to legal aid as a result of any changes to sentencing policy. It is now expected that there will be no announcement of the final shape of the government’s plans or how it proposes to implement them before the end of the month.

Elsewhere, the LSC has stuck to its usual pattern of a couple of weeks of silence followed by a cluster of announcements. It has finally moved to address the serious problems affecting criminal advocacy payments, and has also released a new calculator for working out fees due under the criminal AGFS. It has also reminded practitioners that all CDS4s, 5s and 7s must now be sent to the Nottingham office.

It has also reminded family practitioners working under the new fee schemes of the resources available. There is full coverage of the new schemes for both representation and advocacy in the Handbook. Finally, the LSC is seeking feedback on practitioners’ experience of collecting equality and diversity information from clients, both civil and criminal.

Meanwhile, Crimeline has drawn attention to the recent case of R v Brandon, in which the Costs Judge held that no enhancement was available on payments for special preparation under the criminal litigation graduated fee scheme. However, the opposite view was taken in the earlier case of R v Browne, to which the Judge in Brandon was not referred. As Crimeline says, this is a matter crying out for a definitive answer, but until then practitioners will need to draw the LSC’s attention to Browne when seeking enhancement on special preparation.

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LSC Announcements – week ending 13th May 2011

The last week was unusually busy, with a number of updates and announcements made on the LSC website.

May 30th sees a change to some processing centres, with some changes for both civil and criminal work. The LSC has published a guide (PDF), helpfully setting out what forms go where. 

Also with effect from the end of May, the LSC are withdrawing most of their leaflets. Only “A Step by Step Guide to Legal Aid” and “Paying For Your Legal Aid” will remain in print. Practitioners who find other leaflets useful can email the LSC before 27th May to order stock. PDFs of all the leaflets, including those to be withdrawn, are still available (for now) on the LSC website.

The LSC has also reiterated its position on travelling and accomodation expenses, which it applies both to experts and to fee earners. Although the same post appears to have been put on both the CLS and CDS news feeds, and refers almost exclusively to criminal work, this is nevertheless the stance the LSC take in respect of all claims, both civil and criminal.

Finally, non-family civil practitioners should note that, because of the introduction of the new family fee schemes, there are changes to the CLAIM forms that become mandatory for all cases from 9th May. Forms signed before 9th May will be accepted by the LSC until 3rd June.

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Filed under Civil, Costs, Crime, Family, Immigration, Social welfare