Legal Aid

The LSC consults on market stability measures

PUBLISHED November 28, 2006

The LSC published its consultation paper outlining it proposals to amend the current duty solicitor arrangements from April 2007.

Two key changes have been proposed to the current system:

  1. Firstly, the introduction of a new method for allocating duty solicitor slots1 for police station and court duty work.
  2. Secondly, changes to the current ?service requirements? for duty solicitor cases introducing a moritorium on new duty solicitor slots.

In addition there are also proposals within the consultation paper to create a temporary moratorium on new contracts being awarded and to ensure that performance standards are enforced.

The command paper, ?A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid?, set the terms of reference for Lord Carter?s Review of Legal Aid Procurement, which began in July 2005 and published its findings in July 2006. Lord Carter?s review was tasked with setting out a plan to deliver fundamental reform that would ensure access to justice, deliver greater value for money and a sustainable supplier base. 

Lord Carter?s final report, ?Legal Aid: A market-based approach to reform? was published in July 2006.  This recommended a number of changes to the way publicly funded legal services are structured and remunerated.

The Commission and the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) issued a joint consultation paper ?Legal Aid: A Sustainable Future? in response to Lord Carter?s report.  That consultation closed on 12th October 2006.  The joint response to that consultation was then published by the Commission and the DCA on the 28th November 2006.

The paper takes forward the Carter recommendations on Market Stability by providing options under each heading. It addresses four recommendations that cover:

The closing date for this consultation is 24 January 2006 and all responses (including the cover sheet) should be sent to: Stephen O'Connor,  CDS Policy Team, Legal Services Commission, 12 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2JL