Legal Aid

Family Legal Aid Funding from 2010

In advance of the civil Unified Contract expiring in March 2010, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) published a consultation on award criteria and bid process for the new contracts.

The proposed amendments to the bid criteria and process would enable the implementation of plans set out in the Community Legal Service Strategy and the Family Strategy published by the LSC in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

The LSC consultation was published in October 2008 and the FJC responded to the consultation in January 2009.

In December 2009 the LSC published a consultation on a new set of standard fee schemes to cover family work which were to be implemented in the new contracts from 2010. The FJC responded to the consultation in April 2009.

 

 

 

Family Guidance

In September 2008 the Legal Services Commission (LSC) published a consultation regarding proposed changes to its Manual which anticipated the implementation of the Children and Adoption Act 2006. The FJC responded to the consultation in October 2008.

 

Lord Carter Review

In July 2006 Lord Carter published his independent review of legal aid procurement to which the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) responded with a joint consultation on Lord Carter’s recommendations.

The response to this consultation led to the LSC making substantial changes to the proposed family fee schemes. As part of a legal aid reform programme set out in Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead, the DCA and LSC published a consultation on the updated family fee schemes in March 2007 and the FJC responded in April 2007.

Standard fee schemes were introduced in October 2007 for civil advice, child care proceedings work, family help (private) (advice and negotiation only), family mediation, and asylum and immigration. In January 2008 a standard fee scheme was introduced for mental health work.

These changes resulted in barristers being paid more than solicitors for the same advocacy work. Therefore in June 2008 the MOJ and LSC published a consultation setting out options for reducing family barrister legal aid payments in order to harmonise the rates of pay. The FJC responded to the consultation in September 2008

 

Funding Criteria for Child Care Proceedings

In March 2007 the Legal Services Commissions (LSC) published a consultation regarding new Funding Code Criteria. The paper proposed important changes to the scope and criteria for funding legal representation in public law family proceedings which would be introduced in October 2007 along with the updated fee schemes (see above). The FJC responded to the consultation in May 2007.

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