Legal Aid and The Legal System

Our transformation program aims to improve the quality of services that we purchase on behalf of clients, while making the best use of a limited budget.

We are aiming to create a sustainable legal aid system, with quality, access and value for money at its heart.

The focus in Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead has been on solicitors’ fees, which comprise the bulk of the budget spend.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

We are also exploring the extent to which this new approach can and should be extended to expert services.
Work so far

We consulted in 2004 on ‘The use of experts, quality, price and procedures in publicly funded cases’. In 2005 we published an interim summary report on the consultation. It included:

proposals to review guidance on when and why it is appropriate to instruct experts
measures to control the amounts paid for experts in individual cases
proposals to develop quality assurance measures.

When Lord Carter’s review of legal aid was announced, work on experts was put on hold. This was due to uncertainty of the outcome of the review and the impact it would have on experts.

Due to the time that has passed and the changes that have taken place since the consultation was launched, we will not be publishing a full response to consultation.

The responses we received to this consultation have been valuable, and are being reviewed as part of our current programme of work.
Approach

The way forward is being considered in light of wider changes in the overall reform of legal aid and analysis of experts’ costs.

It is clear that in some areas the financial position now makes targeting the cost of experts a key priority.

We are developing priorities and strategy for addressing expert costs and assuring quality. We plan to engage further with external stakeholders.

We also intend to streamline processes, making it easier for legal aid providers to procure the services of a quality assured expert. This will help to assure:

the client that they are receiving a quality service
the taxpayer and the LSC that value for money is being achieved.

Building a strategy

Experts are a numerous and disparate group, all with different issues and concerns.

We will first prioritise groups of experts to work with.

We will pilot our strategies with a view to eventually assuring quality, access and value for money from services procured from all types of expert (including interpreters).

We plan to engage with:

experts, and their professional bodies
legal aid service providers, and their professional bodies including no win no fee.

We will aim to keep the clients’ best interests at the centre of our strategy.

To ensure that our strategies are aligned, we have established links with:

several external organisations and initiatives
other government departments and jurisdictions.

There are numerous Swindon solicitors such as this one, I know this because I have looked for one previously, the choice is quite startling, but I suppose the same is true of  Oxford, or any other big town that you can think of. They would be happy to have a look at your case, they tend to specialise to if you have a clinical negligence claim, try to find a specialist, many do provide services on legal aid. So find a good solicitor and ask if they accept legal aid or no win no fee cases.

We are collating information to improve our understanding of the use of experts from a variety of sources, including a file sampling exercise. We will use this to inform our decision-making.

If you have any information you think will be helpful to us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Setting up a pilot to reform delivery of health expert witnesses in public law family

We’re in discussions with NHS Trusts and other private organisations to set up a pilot. This project sees multi-disciplinary teams providing jointly instructed health expert witness services in Public Law Childcare Proceedings.

The first contracts with pilot organisations have been signed. See here for more information.

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