The DCA consultation document on Lord Carter's proposals is entitled "Legal Aid: A Sustainable Future".  To ensure access to Justice for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society it is vital that criminal defence work remains financially viable.  The Carter report anticipates some cuts in payments to Defence firms, but we suspect that the report underestimates that reduction.
 
The only way we can find out if our suspicion is justified is to test a random selection of cases and compare fees paid at present to fees proposed under the new regime.  We have selected the first 5 cases after July 2006 for police station and magistrates' court cases and the first 5 Crown Court cases after April 2006 as an arbitrary basket of cases. 
 
For the sample to be statistically valid it is important that the first 5 entires are from the stated period.  Thereafter, firms can enter as many additional cases  as they want to gain a view of the impact upon their firm.  The other factor that will improve the statistical validity of this research is the number of firms that reply.  There is no excuse for not taking part - your future depends upon the outcome of the Consultation and we can only make proper representations on your behalf if you give us the evidence to argue the case.
 
The information is submitted via a website.  You must supply your firm's details to ensure that there is no duplication and so that the data stands up to scrutiny and this will be held in confidence by the CLSA and LCCSA.  The anonomised data however will be made available to all those that access the site and may be shared with the Law Society and other practition groups negotiating on this matter.
 
The deadline for completing the survety is Friday 22nd September 2006.
 
We cannot stress enough the importance of all firms completing this data survey.  This is your future.
 
The survey can be accessed here.
 
If you have any queries whilst completing the survey then please email either Jim Meyer (LCCSA) or Andrew Bishop (CLSA) on one of the following email addresses: - webmaster@lccsa.org.uk or andrewbishop@bishopandlight.co.uk
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