This video is EXCELLENT. Do watch it. And do pass it on. It’s important stuff (but then you know that already). It really does bring home one impact that Ken Clarke’s legal aid cuts will have if implemented. An announcement is expected from the government in the next few weeks, so help spread the word NOW – not jut to lawyers but also to the real human beens whose lives will actually be affected.

Justice Select Committee Report Published

The Justice Select Committee today published it’s report on the Government’s proposed reforms of legal aid. I am reliably informed that family justice features heavily in the report, which adopts much of what the FLBA has had to say on the matter about the potential adverse impact of the proposals on children, and the inapposite nature of an eligibility test based solely on physical violence. I have not had an opportunity to read the report, but you can find it here and you can read the Guardian’s piece on it here.

A combination of laziness and kindness lead me to spare you a picture of the ubiquitous, and irritatingly always-beaming-Ken-Clarke. I can see him grinning endearingly whenever I close my eyes to lay down to sleep. Unfortunately whilst the dulcet tones of Mr Clarke may have an unintended if mild soporific effect, this phenomenon rather less so.

Tomorrow will see the publication of the Family Justice Review Interim Report, so watch this space and this one.

Will post commentary if I can, but possibly will be tied up.

Family Legal Aid Developments

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.