Family fixed fees to be reviewed again

Plans to introduce a controversial fixed fee scheme for family legal aid cases need “further analysis”, ministers have conceded.


Justice Minister Lord Bach told Parliament in late July that the Legal Services Commission’s (“LSC”) proposals for a new fixed fee scheme for advocacy work in private law and care proceedings would be given further review before the scheme is introduced in April 2010. This is likely to be completed in time for the September bid rounds.

His announcement followed scathing criticism from the House of Commons Justice Committee which described the LSC’s plans as “flawed, weak and inflexible”. The Committee criticised the LSC’s “conclusion first, evidence after” approach to policy-making after it commissioned Ernst & Young to gather data after it had proposed cuts to the system. Lucy Theis QC, Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, said the announcement “concedes the need for complexity to be recognised in any revised fee structure”. (See also Bar News p ii.)

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