The LSC has just published the statistics in relation to grants of Representation Orders during the first 6 weeks since the re-introduction of the means test. They make grim reading; extrapolating the figures over a period of a year: -
There has been a 24% reduction in the number of applications for a reprensentation order;
17.48% of all applications are failing based on means;
There has been a total reduction of 42% of representation orders being granted.
The LSC do not accept this analysis and caution against assuming that the figures for this initial period will be mirrored throughout the remainder of the year. They comments that:
"It is common with the implementation of any new scheme or process to experience lower levels of submission at the outset whilst things are 'bedding in'".
They point out that during the first week of operation the number of applications received was 5,118 compared to 11,379 in week 6. Taking week 6 as being representative, the LSC point out that those failing on means would drop to 14%, with an overall drop in Representation Orders being granted by 25%. It also comments that:
"When the last criminal means testing system was abolished, we saw a 20% increase in the number of legal aid applications. Since the re-introduction of means testing, there has been a comparable decline in the number of applications being made".