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LSC concedes defeat on family legal aid contracts

27 October 2010

The LSC has decided not to appeal against a High Court ruling last month that the tender process for the new family legal aid contracts was unlawful.

Lord Justices Moses and Mr Justice Beatson ruled, in a judicial review brought by the Law Society, that the new contract offers should be quashed because the criteria were published too late for solicitors to take action (see Solicitors Journal 154/37 5 October 2010).

The LSC has since extended the expiry date of existing family-related contracts to midnight on 14 December 2010 and is discussing with the Law Society whether to extend this further.

“After careful consideration, the Legal Services Commission has decided not to appeal against the judgment made on the Law Society’s judicial review of our tender process,” a spokesman said today.

“The priority is to focus on the delivery of future public services. Any appeal would only prolong the uncertainty over the future of family legal aid contracts, causing difficulties for clients and providers alike.”

The spokesman said LSC was working closely with representative bodies and the MoJ to resolve questions relating to the future extension of the contract, harmonisation of family fees and allocation of new matter starts.

“Following constructive discussions with the representative bodies, we hope to provide greater clarity on these matters shortly,” the spokesman added.

Under the comprehensive spending review, the MoJ has agreed to cut £350m from the legal aid budget. Private law work family work is expected to be among the casualties.

Categorised in:

Legal Aid Trade Marriage & Civil partnership