Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 5, 2011 15:51:58 GMT
This is a bit rich. Reports from Business South West tell us that the LSC has awarded an Exeter based firm a £2 MILLION pound contract for recovering, wait for it......money owed to the LSC!
Now come on, this is too much!
How many matter starts would we need to get a contract like this? what happened to competitive bid rounds and how on earth can the LSC justify this when it should recover its own debts, they used to have their own debt recovery unit at Gray's Inn. I presume Michelmore's won't need to be conducting means testing and requiring proof of income from their own client.....the LSC!
Here's the article.....
City solicitors land £2m recovery deal
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 09:30
MICHELMORES Solicitors has won a contract worth more than £2 million with the Legal Services Commission (LSC).
For an initial period of three years, the Exeter-based law firm will support the LSC's debt recovery unit enforcement team.
Michelmores' Hannah Kearns-Pollard is experienced in volume debt recovery and supports a range of businesses in the recovery of debts, as well as dealing with disputes arising from non-payment by debtors.
She said: "We are delighted to have won this national contract. It reflects the quality of debt recovery and advisory services that Michelmores has been delivering consistently for many years."
The firm's debt recovery team also advises clients on credit control procedures, review of payment terms and conditions, and issues surrounding legal proceedings, including enforcement and insolvency proceedings. Their debt recovery services range from pre-action protocol and alternative dispute resolution for early conclusion of disputed matters to bankruptcy petitions and obtaining freezing orders.
The LSC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice which works with solicitors and not-for-profit organisations to provide information, advice and legal representation to people in need.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 6, 2011 9:35:09 GMT
It would be good to know just how much the LSC spends on debt recovery and how much it actually recoups from the statutory charge in famiily cases where property subject to matrimonial dispute is eventually sold. I gather there were 5 of these debt contracts out to tender (not that any of us were ever told) which makes you wonder what their total spend on recovery is and what the proportionality is to the amount recovered.
It would also be interesting to see how much the LSC pays on these debt reovery contracts for individual cases. I wonder how many of these go to court? Here's us being told about massive cuts and yet these contracts are being awarded to single suppliers at such high volumes.
I can't exactly recall them being tendered in an open way which is surprising as many of us have debt contracts. Okay, so I get it wouldn't be practical for us to get involved with enforcement, but the LSC perhaps could have engaged with us in reducing their costs by asking us to try and communicate with any of our clients who owed the LSC money - we could perhaps have tried to use our debt skills to come to an arrangement with the LSC and our clients on a repayment programme? - plus we seemingly could have been paid for additional work. I don't see why it couldn't have been considered, it's just an assumption that all of our clients just run off and don't what to do anything to repay what they owe - with no regard to the fact that many of them simply 'have no money' - all of which makes £2 million spending on recovery pretty pointless.
I'd love to know - if the LSC needs to spend sums like this on recovery - just how much is owed and why? Is any of this recovery from high cost cases where legal aid orders have been made, are they revocations or perhaps recovering costs in criminal cases where the defendant has been convicted?
Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 10, 2011 20:15:54 GMT
Aah debt recovery - in these hard times that's clearly the game to go into once legal aid is dead!
Not sure what the new guys will be like, but it seems the current tactics are pretty disreputable already. Article in the Gazette today:
"LSC debt collection tactics criticised
Delays in granting legal aid by the Legal Services Commission and ‘aggressive’ enforcement by its debt collectors of legal aid contributions are causing anxiety for clients and have driven some to attempt suicide, the Gazette has learned.
Solicitors have complained that the LSC is taking too long to grant legal aid to clients, leaving some forced to represent themselves in the magistrates’ courts. However, they claim that where defendants are required to make a financial contribution towards their legal costs, the LSC’s debt collection agency Rossendales has been too quick to begin collecting any payments due from clients as soon as legal aid is assessed.
The Gazette has been told of three cases where the stress caused by these problems has led defendants to attempt or contemplate suicide.
In one instance, a defendant in an assault case received a letter from Rossendales demanding £7,000 and threatening to send bailiffs, two weeks after legal aid had been granted. The defendant became so distressed that he threatened to kill himself, and his family had to follow him to prevent him harming himself at a railway line.
In another case, a defendant who was on full legal aid with no contribution due telephoned his solicitor in a suicidal state after receiving a demand for £6,000 from Rossendales.
In the third instance, a defendant attempted to commit suicide when a delay in granting legal aid by the LSC left him without representation the day before the start of his Crown court trial."