Despite the fact that JR remains in scope can it really be true that Benefits JRs can only be taken by firms with a public law contract? This is the advice I'm getting from some quarters even though the government (honourable people) said:
In November 2010 the Ministry of Justice in its consultation paper ‘Government Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales’ (Cm 7967) proposed to remove ‘Welfare Benefits’ from the scope of civil legal aid including any representation for welfare benefit claimants in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. However, welfare benefits would remain within scope where the appropriate remedy was by way of judicial review.
“As with other areas of law, funding for judicial review will continue to be available for benefits cases. Such cases are likely to occur where there are delays in making decisions on applications for benefits, or delays in making payments, or where there has been suspension of benefits by authorities pending investigation,” (Green Paper 4.224).
Amendments were passed during the course of the legal aid 'reforms' which brought legal aid back in to scope for upper tier tribunal and higher appellate courts. I'm not sure what the position on JR is but it is worth looking at the amendments made in the scope regulations to see if they may cover your enquiry.
The scope changes were not fully embedded in to the legislation in time for the LSC to offer contracts for work up to October 2013. In the interim the work has gone, without it seems any invitations to tender as far as I know, to several providers (who's names escape me) and which have to be first accessed via the telephone 'gateway'.
A useless solution if ever one was ever intended :-(
That's the way I understand it, if anyone knows any different then please chip in?
Post by Colin Henderson on Feb 17, 2014 21:02:18 GMT
Yes Nick - useless indeed. And the award of the "interim" contracts took so long there is no real pretence that this Upper Tribunal appeal service is intended to be functional. Only this month, nearly a year after the old contracts shut down, do we now have a document explaining which remaining suppplier covers what area for this work.
The Law Centre's Network already covered London, the South East, East and Midlands - I think they then pass the cases on to specialists in individual law centres. For the last year I don't think there was any coverage at all elsewhere.
Following another tender round Wales is now covered by Ty Arian Solicitors and the South West by Avon & Somerset and Gloucester Law Centres.
The North now has a very odd patchwork of agencies: the Law Centres at Carlisle, Kirklees, the CABs at Rochdale, Oldham and Stockton, Jackson Canter and Merseyside Welfare Rights. So many cities have nothing, yet bizarrely Sheffield has 3 suppliers - the newly-merged Law Centre/CAB, Shelter and also Howells LLP. As this is for face-to-face advice, I wonder how suppliers intend to deliver to clients where they have no local offices.