Post by Patrick Torsney on Oct 13, 2006 6:57:43 GMT
12 October 2006
Emma McGovern Contract Design Team Legal Services Commission Head Office 85 Gray's Inn Road London WC1X 8TX
Dear Ms McGovern
Legal Aid: A Sustainable Future
Please accept this document as a summary response to the joint DCA/LSC consultation paper: ‘Legal Aid: A Sustainable Future’.
For the purposes of identifying and listing this response it should be identified as a response by and from:
Ask & Prosper – on behalf of the online forum ‘Legal Aid: have your say!’
In addition to this summary response we would like to draw your attention to the numerous individual comments made by registered users of the online forum ‘Legal Aid: have your say!’ on these consultation proposals.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond and to pass on our own and the many views and comments made by subscribers to the online forum.
Patrick Torsney Director
Ask & Prosper 5 Knights House 75 Gainsford Street London SE1 2NB
This response addresses consultation questions raised in relation to civil legal aid and social welfare law categories only; importantly, it only considers those aspects of the consultation which were addressed or considered on and within the forum; any omission to respond to any question within the consultation should not therefore necessarily be seen as tacit agreement with the proposal.
The Legal Services Commission (the ‘Commission’) has not formally acknowledged the existence of the online forum despite senior personnel involved in these proposals, Crispin Passmore and Patrick Reeve, and various other LSC personnel being informed in writing on the 15th August 2006 of its creation and given the opportunity to respond view or otherwise take part. We believe that given the remit of the online forum this is a discourtesy and not in keeping with the transparency and openness encouraged by the Governments Code of Practice on Consultation exercises which the LSC say it is bound by; please see later comments at section 7 of this response.
Senior representatives within the following advice networks and bodies welcomed the creation of the online forum in writing:
Advice Services Alliance
Law Centres Federation
Vera Baird, QC MP Minister for Legal Aid, corresponded with the creator of the forum in writing and welcomed its creation. The Constitutional Affairs Committee, reviewing the implementation of Lord Carter’s proposals, also corresponded with the creator of the forum and is currently considering whether to accept the submission within its review. This is the standard we would also have expected of the Legal Services Commission.
As with any web forum the views herein may not represent the views of each and every member of the forum or, the extent to which any member might hold those views. Given this we have tried to codify the responses on the forum within this document as much as possible so that they give an accurate representation of the majority view with some additional explanation of any minority. We have also added a number of observations and additional comments which we felt would be of use.
For further information please contact the writer of this response.