Law Reform, LCCSA News, Legal Aid, Miscellaneous, Practice and Procedure, President's Report

The LAA Contract and Ghosts -past, present and future

PUBLISHED October 15, 2017

The past
We have been driven into a contracting supplier base and pessimism by relentless cuts , unnecessary bureaucracy , and too often by overly hostile stances by assessors , auditors and managers .
The collapse of the scheme to contract duties passed without apology .The 8.75 % cut predicated on its success is not restored .The next 8.75 % cut hangs suspended and an alternative to ppe capping and s.38 restriction to legal aid rates .
The LCCSA argued in relation to rules for Duty Solicitors for simplicity and an acceptable minimum standard , namely a mix of actual duties completed in court and police stations with some minimum number of overall attendances.
We argued against any hours requirement as unecessary , bureaucratic and against the interests of working parents and especially that it offended the principles of simplicity and ease of checking .
The Present
Predictably “the Hours” will now consume much energy .All its limitations and difficulties are thrown into sharp relief as reports of overzealous interventions by account managers filter through while confusion over aspects of the schemes detail spreads .
We are surveying our members and will be informed as ever by their views.

Member survey: 14 hours-per-week rule for duty solicitors

As a membership organisation we have always fought to protect individual ownership of scheme membership .
Similarly we have favoured the widest interpretation of qualifying work and terms that allow our diverse membership to properly contribute through duty solicitor work whilst maintaining a wide variety of working lives .
The future
We will be informed by our members response .Some argue that the future should involve consolidation of the supplier Base and the concentration of ownership of duties in the hands of fewer powerful owners .This would devalue the economic positions of members of the LCCSA . It is not a position we will adopt. It is sometimes disguised as concern for the future stability of supply when it really reflects a desire to gain economic advantage.
What we always need is unity around the political issue which has been the Government desire to restrict scope and impose austerity. The hours issue is a battle for a settlement in the widest interests of members but the great issues are restoring value and scope.
Greg Powell , President
Jenny Wiltshire, Vice President
Greg Foxsmith, immediate past president
Jon Black, past president
15 October 2017