04 October 2010

The Legal Services Commission (LSC), which hands out legal aid contracts to advice agencies and solicitors, is in turmoil after losing a judicial review brought by the Law Society, which represents solicitors.

The High Court found that the LSC had been arbitrary, unfair and irrational in the way it awarded contracts in relation to family law.  (See:  No more legal aid for benefits? for more on this)

Although the decision itself does not relate to social welfare law – which includes, welfare benefits, employment and debt – the method of awarding those contracts also suffered from some of the same faults and so may have to be revisited.

It is not clear yet how the LSC plans to dig itself out of the hole that it has created, other than extending current family law contracts for an extra month whilst it tries to come up with a solution.  But whatever happens, its already poor reputation for getting legal help to those who most need it is now in shreds and its future existence  looks increasingly uncertain


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