Law Society president Andrew Caplen said: ‘In the interests of access to justice, the public and the legal profession, we have decided to seek a judicial review of the legal aid crime duty tender process. In our opinion, the process creates a serious risk of market failure which could have major implications for society as well as the profession.
‘We know that our members have concerns about their livelihoods, but also more widely about the impact the outcome of the process will have on access to justice for the most vulnerable in our society.’
The Law Society Council met on Wednesday 10 December and agreed to seek a judicial review.
The Society has had discussions with the practitioner groups around their plans and these will continue.
The Society will also be offering financial support to the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association to support their work on their potential reviews.
Detail of the timeline for the Legal Aid Agency crime duty tender process:
- 27 November – tender opens
- 15 December – midday: deadline for submitting questions on the tender process
- 29 January 2015 – tender closes w/c
- 12 June 2015 – notification of tender outcomes
- July 2015 – subject to further consideration, second fee cut implemented
- 1 October 2015 – service commencement