This update was provided to Liverpool Law Society by Beth Quinn, Key Account Manager at the Law Society
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
New research on legal aid means tests proposals
New research commissioned by the Law Society shows a shakeup of legal aid financial eligibility criteria risks being undermined by a failure to account for spiralling inflation in changes proposed by the Ministry of Justice. We commissioned Professor Donald Hirsch to follow up his research that the government to review its criteria for who can receive legal aid. The new analysis confirms that the Ministry of Justice’s proposed changes to the means test should lead to more people on low incomes becoming eligible for legal aid.
However, MoJ oversights risk partially – and in some cases fully- reversing improvements over time. The most significant omission is the failure to uprate cost-of-living allowances regularly in line with inflation. The MoJ proposes using 2019 expenditure benchmarks through to 2026, but with cost-of-living crises these are already out of date (prices are expected to have risen by 20% by 2026).
Single parent families will be disadvantaged compared to other types of households as the proposed changes fail to recognise one-parent families must budget a higher proportion of their income to pay for their children’s needs relative to two-parent families.
Professor Hirsch suggests an additional allowance for single parents, which we support.
> Read the Law Society’s response to the consultation (closed 7 June 2022)
> Read Professor Hirsch’s report
> Watch webinars on the means test (civil cases & criminal cases)
> More information on the Law Society website
To keep you in the loop, the Law Society’s Practice Note on Professional Undertakings has been drafted and is now going through our checking and governance process. We hope to be able to publish it in the next few weeks. Some further communications will be going out in this week’s Professional Update.
I wanted to share with you the preliminary notice of the Law Society’s Council elections 2022. We have seats that will fall vacant on the expiry of the terms of office of the current Council members at our AGM (12 October 2022), bar Sussex and Criminal Prosecution Services, where casual vacancies have arisen.
Successful candidates will take office at the conclusion of the AGM on 12 October 2022 except where they are filling those casual vacancies, when they take office immediately. Unless stated otherwise the normal term of office of a Council Member is 4 years. List of seats to be filled include:
- Criminal Defence
- Criminal Prosecution Services
- Ethnic Minorities (2 vacancies, 1 must be a Black Solicitors’ Network member)
- Legal Aid
- Private Client
- Women Lawyers (around 5 vacancies)
LOCAL LAW SOCIETIES
Local Law Society Forum: International practice
We held our latest Local Law Society Forum on 8 June, covering all things international practice with our Head of International Mickael Laurans. We’re in the process of putting together an article that can be shared with your members via any upcoming magazines, newsletters, on websites, etc.
Please save the date for our next Forum on 13 July, which will be on Regulatory matters with our Head of Regulatory Affairs and Economic Crime, Rob Cummings.
Upcoming Local Law Societies’ Conference, 14 July 2022 (virtual)
The Law Society’s Local Law Societies’ Conference: Engage, Manage, Grow is now open for registrations. The conference will be taking place virtually (14:30-17:30, 14 July 2022). We have ensured that the content for this year’s conference is relevant to all Local Law Society stakeholders (OHs, committee members, wider staff) as we wished to interact with all those who make up LLS and who are passionate about growing their Societies, engaging with members, and with other Local Law Societies cross-country.
To see the programme and register there is a special link (here) – please do forward to all committee members and staff who you think may be interested. The conference is not made public on our webpages as it’s been devised specially for you and those other Local Law Societies in England and Wales – the only way to register is via the link above.