Further to my post only yesterday about the proposal to revoke the implementing SI in respect of the Family Advocacy Scheme – it has already been revoked. As Tommy Cooper would have said: “Jus’ like that”.
It is said that this is an interim measure taken in light of the current position vis a vis the successful Judicial Review of the Legal Services Commission Family Contracts Tender. The MOJ says that “it reflects the fact that further consideration needs to be given to the position in the light of the judgment, and does not imply a decision by the Government not to proceed with the new schemes. It should not therefore in any way be taken as an indication as to what decisions may be reached in due course in respect of the contracts or fee schemes.”
Nice to see that, in the spirit of a unified approach to all flavours of lawyer that underpinned the FAS, the Government is so dedicated to ensuring an equal distribution of chaos and uncertainty across the breadth of the family law community in this way. Although it really wasn’t strictly necessary, because in fact the quashing of solicitor’s contracts has thrown solicitors and the bar alike into turmoil, albeit more acutely for solicitors. And solicitor advocates will of course be faced with uncertain terrain in all directions.
Sensible business planning by the legal profession is impossible in these conditions, but at one level this is nothing new. There has not been a time in my career when family legal aid was not under threat or review or when the long term future of the family bar was not a troubling question.
The original proposal was to simply extend the date for implementation by one month, but
“As the current position is that the LSC is considering the judgment and its implications (including whether or not to appeal), it was considered better to revoke SI 2010/1109 pending determination of the way forward in the light of the court’s judgment, rather than simply extending it for one month in circumstances where, depending on the ultimate decisions, SI 2010/1109 might well need to be revisited in any event. Proceeding in this way also provides space for consideration of the outcome of the recent litigation.”
Before today I’d have put a fiver on the LSC appealing the JR decision, having seen this I’m minded to chuck a tenner at it. Except I’m not sure I can afford a tenner because thanks to this little bombshell I once again have no idea what I will be earning in future. Happy days.