Last updated:2023-09-18
LAA changes contract plans
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has announced changes to its plans for the civil legal aid contracts. In November 2015, it announced its intention to align the civil contract end dates to 31 March 2018. A headline intentions paper was then issued in January this year, which outlined a process and timetable for applications for civil law legal aid contracts. Last month, the LAA announced it had decided to scrap plans for a selection questionnaire stage to be followed by an invitation to tender stage. It will now run the two stages at the same time and commence the process in May 2017.
‘It makes sense to run the two processes together provided all of the information that firms and non-profit agencies need to make applications has been published in advance, but it just does not reflect well on the efficiency of the LAA to have to change its plans so quickly,’ said Vicky Ling, co-editor of LAG’s Legal Aid Handbook 2017/18 (see also page 12 of this issue).
After representations from the Law Society and the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, the LAA agreed to extend the deadline for criminal legal aid firms to sign and return their contract schedules. Legal Action understands that due to ‘technical difficulties’ the LAA was unable to process the applications. The closing date was moved from 20 to 22 March.