Law Society Press Release regarding LCCSA/CLSA Judicial Review
Law Society pledges further support to criminal law solicitors
The Law Society Council has voted to continue to do all in its power to assist criminal law solicitors.
The Law Society’s governing council met today to consider a request from the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) and the Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA) for financial support for a judicial review challenging aspects of the consultation process on the Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps proposals. In particular, the focus of the claim is the preparation of the KPMG report on the appropriate number of duty contracts to award, which they suggest was not released to appropriate consultees, rendering the process unfair.
The Society’s Council said it recognised the deep concern of many criminal law practitioners at the Lord Chancellor’s decisions and suggested that the Society assist the parties by offering to fund mediation to resolve the issues.
Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson has today written to the claimants to propose mediation. Council directed that should mediation not succeed, the Law Society would provide financial support to enable the practitioner groups to proceed with the litigation, if permission is granted.
Law Society President Nicholas Fluck said: “The Law Society Council is acutely aware of the potential devastation facing criminal law solicitors. Council has today sent a clear message that the Law Society will do all in its power to support them.”
That the Society should –
1. (a) By letter invite the claimants to propose mediation, with a stay of proceedings for that mediation, with the option that the Society be involved in that mediation; and
(b) Offer to pay the claimants’ costs of that mediation up to a maximum of £30,000.
2. Provided that the Society’s mediation invitation is accepted by the claimants, and if the offer of the mediation is not agreed to by the government, or if the mediation takes place but is not successful, offer the claimants the sum of £45,000 in respect of their costs of the judicial review.
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Press contact Catherine Reed 020 7320 5902