"City’s aid sought for post-LASPO projectFriday 08 June 2012 by Catherine Baksi
The Law Society is seeking the backing of big City firms for a high-profile initiative aimed at helping high street practices and their clients meet the challenges posed by legal aid cuts.
One key component is ensuring that people on low incomes are able to access appropriate legal services when the scope cuts in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) are implemented. The Society hopes to secure funding from the philanthropic sector and practical help from City firms to develop a strategic litigation function that will monitor and challenge LASPO’s implementation. This will pay particular attention to the operation of the proposed telephone gateway, through which clients will access civil legal aid, and the use of the exceptional cases funding mechanism.
Large numbers of social welfare and immigration cases result from poor decision-making by public bodies. LASPO removes legal aid for most of them and it is hoped the new mechanism will help plug the justice gap.
The Society will seek evidence of errors made by bodies such as local councils and government departments and use it to improve standards and encourage better decision-making. Society vice-president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff did not rule out the possibility of seeking judicial reviews, but hoped that change could be brought about without litigation. ...................."
I really like Lucy Scott-Moncreif and don't want to seem hostile towards what she is saying. However, this all seems rather toothless to me. Local authorities are unlikely to pay much attention to a trainee solicitor at a city firm notifying them that they have made a bad decision.
Fortunately Judicial Review is still going to be in scope post LASPO (isn't it?) so homeless people getting jacked about by local authorities won't have to rely on this but can hopefully still get a solicitor to take action under a Legal Aid Certificate. Am I missing something?