Legal Aid

Firms must reform to make legal aid pay, Carter insists

PUBLISHED September 9, 2006

Legal aid lawyers need to be ?a little bit more in the 20th century?, let alone the 21st, Lord Carter said this week.

In an interview with the Gazette, the author of the wide-ranging review of legal aid procurement published in July said that if solicitors had been pleased with the rates proposed, the review would have failed.

He said: ?The rates on offer are adequate, and if firms make the right efficiency savings, they will be good. If the rates were good for firms as they operate at the moment, I would have failed.?

Lord Carter added: ?If we haven?t got the price right, there will be an advice desert and we will have to pay more. It?s up to lawyers to make the case. But we want fair pricing in all categories, rather than cross-subsidy. If we haven?t got it right in one category, we should put it right.

?Why don?t we all get efficient, and then lawyers will be in a stronger place to argue for what the right money is. All we have said is, lawyers need to be a little bit more in the 20th century.?