Liverpool Law Society is supporting the Young Legal Aid Lawyer’s (YLAL) project means test and encourages firms to take part. Please see the message below from YLAL.
Since the Ministry of Justice’s publication of their post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), the MOJ have announced further reviews into a number of areas of the justice system, including a full review of the criminal legal aid system, a pilot for early advice and a review of the means test. YLAL is proud that, with the assistance of our members, we were able to make a substantive submission to the evidence-gathering phase of the post-implementation review, which was referenced heavily throughout the MOJ’s publication. We are now considering the ways in which we can continue to influence the various on-going MOJ reviews.
Our members are an invaluable source of information on the impact of legal aid restrictions upon clients. Our members also deal with the frustrations of spending hours submitting lengthy legal aid applications. Our members are therefore well-placed to help us gather substantive data on the means test. However, to achieve this we need not only to draw – again – on our members commitment and enthusiasm, but we need your support too. We will be asking YLAL members to sign up to this project in which they help us gather quantitative evidence on the way in which the means test operates in practice. We would also love to have the support of all other practitioners who are undertaking means assessment for legal aid purposes.
Practitioners can fill in a short Google-form each time they assess someone as ineligible for legal aid on the basis of their means. We expect it will take them no more than two minutes per submission. Link to the form is here so you are able to see the exact data being collected. We are not requesting any personal client information, merely numerical data of financial means. You will see that the form is very straightforward and will only take very minimal time to complete following their assessment of the client as ineligible.
We are seeking to fill the gap in data collected regarding the means test. Most data collected on means is inevitably related only to those who are eligible. We want to build a quantitative bank of data which can be used to demonstrate the significant impact that the failures in the means test have had upon clients who are therefore unable to access important legal advice on a publicly funded basis. This data will then form a statistical basis for YLAL’s formal submission to the MOJ on the means test review.
We are asking our members to share the link to the form and some information about Project Means Test to those who you think would be willing and able to feed into this research.