Sir Brian Leveson’s Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings published: Media Release – Judiciary of England and Wales

‘Sir Brian Leveson, The President of the Queen’s Bench Division publishes his review into efficiency in criminal proceedings today (Friday) with a wide ranging set of recommendations. He was asked by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas to find ways to make criminal justice more efficient and streamlined.’

Full press release

Judiciary of England and Wales, 23rd January 2015

Source: www.judiciary.gov.uk

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High court upholds legal aid rules in domestic violence cases – The Guardian

‘Government regulations on access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence have been upheld by the high court.’

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The Guardian, 23rd January 2015

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Domestic violence challenge on legal aid fails – Law Society’s Gazette

‘The High Court has rejected a challenge to the legality of government changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence.’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 22nd January 2015

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Judgment reserved on criminal legal aid reforms – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Delivering judgment on the lord chancellor’s controversial criminal legal aid reforms by the end of the month will be a ‘pretty tall order’, senior judges have said at the end of a three-day hearing in the High Court.’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 20th January 2015

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Disrepair damages update – NearlyLegal

Posted January 21st, 2015 in damages, landlord & tenant, leases, legal aid, news, repairs by sally

‘Armes v Wheel Property Co Ltd, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court, 17 May 2013
Claimant had been the protected tenant of a two bed flat in a Victorian terrace conversion for 30 years. Current rent was £191 per week.’

Full story

NearlyLegal, 18th January 2015

Source: www.nearlylegal.co.uk

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‘Justice under threat’ as defendants face court alone due to legal aid cuts – The Independent

Posted January 20th, 2015 in criminal justice, legal aid, legal representation, litigants in person, news by sally

‘The principle of fair justice is being undermined by the growing number of criminal defendants forced to represent themselves in court, magistrates from across the country warn in a survey to be released today [19 January].’

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The Independent, 19th January 2015

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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Legal aid cuts hit divided families as contact centres close down – The Guardian

Posted January 19th, 2015 in budgets, children, families, legal aid, news by tracey

‘Child contact centres, where children meet their separated parents who cannot agree access rights, are disappearing as legal aid cuts take effect.The National Association for Child Contact Centres (NACCC) says 40 centres have closed in the last 18 months across England and Wales – and the pace of closures is accelerating. It says that, because it can no longer obtain legal aid, the number of parents accessing the family courts to resolve their problems has halved. As a result they are not receiving advice from solicitors who are likely to refer them to the centres.’

Full story

The Guardian, 17th January 2015

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Grayling’s legal aid reforms ‘irrational’, Law Society argues – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted January 16th, 2015 in contracts, judicial review, Law Society, legal aid, news, tenders by sally

‘The lord chancellor’s decision to start a tender process for legal aid crime duty contracts is unlawful because it is “irrational”, “disproportionate” and based on a “manifest error”, the Law Society will argue in the High Court.’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 15th January 2015

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Neither compassionate nor humane – Legal Aid Handbook

‘The first two reported cases of the year in the Family Court are both concerned with the difficulties litigants – not to mention practitioners, and the courts – are now faced with when trying to navigate the legal aid system. The first – about which we posted here – concerned an unrepresented father who couldn’t get legal aid despite needing to cross-examine a child who had accused him of abuse, leading to the court to order that he be funded outside the legal aid scheme.’

Full story

Legal Aid Handbook, 11th January 2015

Source: www.legalaidhandbook.com

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Asking for relief – NearlyLegal

‘This is a housing case, but the procedural issue in this decision is only tangentially related to that. Nonetheless, it is a matter worth noting.’

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NearlyLegal, 10th January 2015

Source: www.nearlylegal.co.uk

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Munby: legal aid system ‘neither compassionate nor humane’ – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted January 8th, 2015 in adoption, delay, judges, learning difficulties, legal aid, news by sally

‘The president of the Family Division has described as ‘unconscionable’ delays over legal aid funding which have held up a case concerning the removal of a child from his parents.’

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7th January 2015

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Pro bono – what lies ahead in 2015? – The Future of Law

Posted January 8th, 2015 in law centres, law firms, legal aid, news, pro bono work by sally

‘2015 looks set to be a critical year for the pro bono movement and its uneasy relationship with legal aid. The well-worn pro bono mantra – that pro bono is “an adjunct to and not a replacement for legal aid” – has been challenged in recent years. The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) effectively scrapped public funding for much of social welfare law advice in April 2013 and the legal profession is finally beginning to rethink the formula. Legal aid lawyers are rightly sceptical about ministers trying to co-opt pro bono – but LASPO 2012 is a game-changer.’

Full story

The Future of Law, 7th January 2015

Source: http://blogs.lexisnexis.co.uk

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Parents’ legal aid wait to fight enforced adoption of son inhumane, says judge – The Guardian

Posted January 8th, 2015 in adoption, delay, learning difficulties, legal aid, legal representation, news by sally

‘A couple left in “agony” to fight against the enforced adoption of their three-year-old son could be forgiven for thinking they are trapped in a system which is “neither compassionate nor even humane,” the most senior family court judge in England and Wales has said.’

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The Guardian, 7th January 2015

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Challenging a Refusal of Permission to Appeal by the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in a Welfare Benefits Case – A Practice Note – Garden Court Chambers Blog

‘Desmond Rutledge provides a practice note on challenging a refusal of permission to appeal by the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in a welfare benefits case.’

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Garden Court Chambers Blog, 6th January 2015

Source: www.gclaw.wordpress.com

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Pupils’ lawyers challenge lower threshold for school exclusions – The Guardian

‘Many more children could be expelled from school under new guidance which comes into force this week, according to lawyers who represent pupils at appeal panels.’

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The Guardian, 6th January 2015

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Regina (Gudanaviciene and others) v Director of Legal Aid Casework and another (British Red Cross Society, intervening) – WLR Daily

Posted January 6th, 2015 in appeals, charities, human rights, immigration, law reports, legal aid by sally

Regina (Gudanaviciene and others) v Director of Legal Aid Casework and another (British Red Cross Society, intervening) [2014] EWCA Civ 1622; [2014] WLR (D) 547

‘Provisions in the Exceptional Funding Guidance (Non-Inquests), issued by the Lord Chancellor under section 4 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, although correctly identifying many of the particular factors which were to be taken into account by the Director of Legal Aid Casework and legal aid caseworkers in deciding whether to make an exceptional case determination for legal aid in a particular case, mis-stated the discretion conferred by section 10(3)(b) of the 2012 Act, and failed to comply with both article 6(1) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, by impermissibly sending a clear signal to the director and the caseworkers that the refusal of legal aid would amount to a breach only in rare and exceptional cases.’

WLR Daily, 15th December 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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Exceptional legal aid funding should not be limited to extreme cases – Court of Appeal – UK Human Rights Blog

Posted December 18th, 2014 in appeals, human rights, immigration, legal aid, news by sally

‘The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance on exceptional funding in civil legal aid is incompatible with the right of access to justice under Article 6 of the ECHR and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Court has further decided that this Guidance was not compatible with Article 8 of the ECHR in immigration cases; in other words, that legal aid should not be refused when applicants for entry to the UK seek to argue that refusal of entry would interfere with their right to respect for private and family life.’

Full story

UK Human Rights Blog, 17th December 2014

Source: www.ukhumanrightsblog.com

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Legal aid immigration case guidance ‘unlawful’ – BBC News

Posted December 15th, 2014 in appeals, budgets, civil justice, immigration, legal aid, news by tracey

‘Guidance on granting legal aid for exceptional immigration cases is “unlawful”, judges have ruled.’

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BBC News, 15th December 2014

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Legal Voice conference report: Innovation in the delivery of legal services – LegalVoice

Posted December 12th, 2014 in civil justice, criminal justice, insurance, legal aid, news by sally

‘Roger Smith OBE made the case for 1% of the legal aid budget to be directed towards an ‘innovation fund’ to promote access to justice online. The former director of JUSTICE, who was delivering the keynote speech earlier this week at the 2014 Legal Voice conference, called upon Chris Grayling to ‘re-evaluate’ priorities and to deploy online help for initial advice.’

Full story

LegalVoice, 11th December 2014

Source: www.legalvoice.org.uk

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Government blames High Court for denying mesothelioma victims damages uplift -

Posted December 12th, 2014 in costs, damages, industrial injuries, insurance, legal aid, news by sally

‘The High Court’s decision to block the abolition of recoverability for mesothelioma claims has denied victims the 10% uplift in damages they would otherwise have received, justice minister Lord Faulks has said.’

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Litgation Futures, 11th December 2014

Source: www.litigationfutures.com

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