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Clients strip off in fight to save solicitor

5 October 2011

Clients of campaigning solicitor Yvonne Hossack have bared their bottoms to help save her practice from becoming yet another victim of the legal aid cuts.

Hossack, whose legal battles to prevent elderly clients being evicted from care homes have gone all the way to Strasbourg, said that since she lost her legal aid contract and all her remaining matter starts in January her practice in Northamptonshire had lost £100,000.

“Our usual turnover was £250,000 to £300,000,” she said. “In the last year I have paid £100,000 to keep the firm going.”

The solicitor said that in June she was banned by the LSC from working for existing clients.

“A lot of clients are simply abandoning their cases,” she said.

Earlier this year Hossack won the right to challenge the LSC’s decision not to award her firm a legal aid contract in social welfare law, which includes community care, at a judicial review hearing in the Court of Appeal.

Hossack applied in 2010 for contracts in social welfare law in each of the 125 areas in England and Wales, but the LSC rejected all her tenders apart from one, for Wiltshire, which was later terminated.

Delivering judgment at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Richards granted her permission to apply for judicial review, but only in respect of the rejection of her tender for Northamptonshire (see solicitorsjournal.com, 12 July 2011).

The case returned to the High Court and Hossack is waiting for judgment to be handed down following a judicial review hearing before Mr Justice Blake last month.

She described as “marvellous” the decision of Roger and Chris Kinsey, aged 66 and 58 respectively, to recreate John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s naked pose for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Hossack said she had represented the couple’s disabled daughter in a judicial review against Northampton County Council five years ago after the council decided to cut day care services.

She suggested the legal aid campaign slogan ‘Sound Off for Justice’ should be replaced by ‘strip off for justice’.

Hossack added: “I would encourage anyone else who wants to show what this government is doing to legal aid to do the same.”

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