A lot has been happening behind the scenes:
- Following the sending of an open letter to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, the Family Law Bar Association, the Bar Council, the Association of Lawyers for Children, and the National Youth Advocacy Service made representations to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee this week to highlight their concerns about the impact of the LSC proposals on access to justice if implemented.
- The LSC has commissioned economic research on the structure of the family legal aid market and the likely impact of the reforms. Having already formulated it's proposals and opened consultation in December this is a completely topsy turvy way of going about things and apparently tantamount to an acknowledgment that the evidential base for the consultation proposals was inadequate. To make matters worse the LSC proposes to continue on its current timeframe for announcement of consultation outcomes by August simultaneously with publication of the research outcomes, leaving no opportunity for consultees to input to the decision making process as informed by that research. No doubt they will give some serious consideration as to whether or not they can legitimately proceed with that consultation timetable without being successfully judicially reviewed - there is surely only one answer to that question isn't there?
Yesterday the Times published a further article on the issue by Anthony Hayden QC here.
The consultation is presently scheduled to close on 3 April - NEXT FRIDAY. DO NOT FORGET TO RESPOND.