I've managed to pull the relevant conversations from the other UC message thread into this one so people can use this particular message thread to focus on section 5
Thanks to patricia1066 who posted her reply first:
Section 5 caught my attention. I suppose because it directly opposes some of the measures I thought would sustain the new contracts.
Several terms are very specifically directed to our complaints.
That this will lead to work being declined as uneconomic - admitting this will lead to breach of contract.
Also matter starts seem to be restricted; I interpret 5.11 that if there is a stay application, and Housing Benefit investigation is required, it wont be a new matter start unless 1. you know whether there is ground for an appeal or supersession, so that it can be 2. submitted to the sufficient benefit test, and the 3. financial means test from a new period requiring presumably new evidence of income taken 4. the time spent finding the cause of action will only be funded under the original matter start. This is not inconsiderable as many years of correspondence with HB handed to me in a shopping bag is not uncommon.
Do you think this restricts us in fact, as we just need to link the sufficient benefit with the impending eviction in the above example. But its administratively even worse than at present when I frequently open 2 matter starts with same income evidence.
This wont be permitted under new contract.
The news keeps on getting worse, and I suspect that the consultation exercise has been used to find out what ways around the contract we have found to avoid loss of our current funding.
But the response of the private firms is the one that they are concerned with - if LSC contracts are declined in massive numbers that will impact on the court business as representation becomes rare
The following then from sarahcollins:
Sorry I'm not clear why we won't be able to use the same income evidence when opening up more than one matter start. I know we have to complete separate CW1 forms for each, but why can you not use copies of the same financial evidence for each 'application'? Is this stated somewhere in the Unified Contract - I spent yesterday reading it and didn't pick this up... Thanks
With a reply on 28th Nov 06 from patricia1066:
sorry for a slow response but I just saw your question today.
No its just the conclusion i reached when I looked at the restrictions on opening more than one matter start in one interview. Whether the same income evidence could be useful at more than one interview requires consideration of the period covered. I read the following clauses to mean that in practice we need to take a single matter start to identify the issues and potential matter starts, and subsequently to take further instructions on the additional matters. Look at 5.14 Does it seem to contradict itself, or could it mean that while only one area of Law can be considered for a matter start at that first general interview, it could be justified by the requirement to do further work and need the client to come in at a later date.
Or am I doing their job in justifying internal contradictions?
5.7 As a large volume of Controlled Work is paid for under a Standard Fees and Graduated Fees system there is a risk that Suppliers will attempt unjustifiably to increase the numbers of Standard Fees and Graduated Fees they may claim by artificially creating additional Matter Starts and commencing two or more Matter Starts for the same Client where it would be sufficient and appropriate to commence only one. You are not permitted to do this. 5.9 Each separate Matter must be the subject of a separate application form. You must identify, and record on the appropriate case file, any point at which the work which you are performing for any Client on one matter becomes a separate matter and use of a separate Matter Start is necessary. 5.12 A single Matter Start should be completed to identify the issues and provide general, preliminary advice. If one legal issue is identified then the original, single Matter Start should be used for the provision of further Controlled Work.
5.14 Where the same set of circumstances gives rise to multiple issues which may fall into more than one category of law brief advice should usually be provided in relation to all those issues on one application and this will only qualify as one Matter Start. The case should be recorded as a Matter Start in the category of law into which the main issue falls, without consideration of the respective levels of any applicable Standard Fee or Graduated Fee. **If however an issue in another Category of Law is pursued beyond brief advice, then a separate Matter Start in that Category of Law should be used provided the Funding Code criteria are met and you have an available Matter Start. A Matter Start cannot be in more than one Category of Law of work.**
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