Legal Aid

LCCSA Response to Constitutional Affairs Committee Report

PUBLISHED May 1, 2007

LCCSA welcomes Committee's report on legal aid but does not agree with London as the solution to pilot price competitive tendering

Greg Powell, President of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA), says:

"We welcome the Committee?s wide ranging analysis which fully justifies our conclusion that there is no rational cost benefit analysis which supports the Government?s present proposals for restructuring legal aid supply.   The committee rightly concludes that rather than analysing the problem to come up with a solution, they decided instead on a programme which will close down many legal Aid firms and create advice deserts.  Competitive tendering is not a viable way forward.

?The fundamental problems the Government and Legal Services Commission have never addressed are the cost drivers behind the two areas of Legal Aid expenditure that have risen, namely Crown Court cases and childcare cases. 

"However, we do not believe that the Committee?s proposal that London is suitable place for   a pilot scheme of competitive tendering is the right conclusion. It is the place where black minority ethnic owned firms are most at risk as are social welfare law services, picking on London is inappropriate as it is a hugely complex city with large numbers of vulnerable people who need to access Legally Aided services; The Government should do detailed research and evaluation before it proceeds and as the Committee urges, place its present plans on hold. " 

Note to Editors

For further information, please contact: Victoria Sabin, Project Associates Tel: +44 20 7432 3216/+44 7971 430 244 or, Greg Powell, Powell Spencer & Partners Tel: +44 20 7604 5600 , Mobile 07764943676  or; Robert Brown, Corker Binning, Solicitors Tel: +44 20 7353 6000 or