The Legal Services Commission has been told by the High Court that its new unified contract (contract with solicitors providing legal aid services) is unlawful. The Contract included a term that effectively enabled the LSC to amend the contract at will. See the Law Society Press Release.
Also a challenge to the legal aid reforms by the Law Society, the Society of Asian Lawyers and the Black Lawyers Network has succeeded has succeeded, with the LSC backing down at the door of the court. Lawyers had argued that the Government and the LSC had failed to conduct an impact assessment on the effect of the proposed reforms on minority lawyers (and by extension access to justice for their clients). Lawyers are concerned that the reforms would disproportionately affect smaller firms, which have a high proportion of minority lawyers. See the Law Society Press Release.
It remains to be seen whether this will have any lasting or long term affect on the progress or shape of the reform of legal aid. Its all good news but do you ever get the feeling its like throwing eggs at a juggernaut?