Again, greetings from Lancashire and apologies if I'm missing something here, but this document intrigues me.
Is the sufficient benefit test being abolished? Or moved to another document?
I’ll look forward to seeing how some of the welfare benefits category specific provisions work in practice. For example, we “must not open a new matter start where the matter could easily have been dealt with by the client, such as by an enquiry to the relevant benefits authority” (para 16.2 refers). Very often, it is only with hindsight, that a caseworker will know that
The old chestnut of “Legal Help should not be used to assist the client with forms completion……” is still around although the helpful examples in the solicitor contract spec, eg that “this need might arise when completing certain sections of the DLS claim form or the pro-forma sheets on habitual residence” is not included in the draft. I think we need to get better information/guidance here.
Finally, there is very little mention of SQM. At present the SQM is “one of the contract documents”. Post October will this still be the case?
Has anyone read the new civilspecification pf the LSC Unified Contract. The new spec. says IUC's cannot be funded under controlled work and must be done under a crime contract.
Which means client's will (oops, may) be getting representation from our solicitor colleagues, many of whom don't have a clue about benefits, and refer their client's who have benefit problems to the likes of us.
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Mar 6, 2007 12:05:09 GMT
The category Specific guidance under debt says:
"Matter Start boundaries 13.2 Each individual debt does not, of itself, justify use of a separate Matter Start. Only where separate proceedings have been issued against the Client in respect of different debts will separate applications for Legal Help in respect of each set of proceedings be justified."
Does this mean, for example, that if a client has 10 debts, and 3 are the subject to separate county court proceedings that 4 new matters should be started, or am i barking up the wrong tree entirely?
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Mar 6, 2007 13:26:40 GMT
I believe that that wording was in the solicitors spec, as i think it was a bone of contention when they did the first fixed fee amount proposal that the specs were different for the NFP compare to sols on debt
Post by Patrick Torsney on Mar 6, 2007 13:47:19 GMT
Yes you are correct, it was in the Solicitor Specification as part of the additional category specific guidance to section 3.10
There is quite a bit of this kind of 'blending' going on between the two contracts as we move toward the Unified Contract. In many ways the solicitor contract category specific guidance is actually much more explicit than the current consultation Spec about what you should and shouldn't do - some may think that this is a good thing - leaves room for manouever - whilst others may say that clearer guidance leaves no room for doubt and avoids dispute
I'm going through it with an open mind at the moment - the jury is out....