Last updated:2023-09-18
Duty rota deal pending
The groups representing criminal legal aid solicitors are in talks with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) over the duty contracts for police and magistrates’ court work. An agreement needs to be reached over the next step after justice secretary Michael Gove announced the government’s U-turn on two-tier contracts in January (see March 2016 Legal Action 4).
Those close to the talks are staying tightlipped, but Legal Action understands that the main difficulty is dealing with the problem of what are known as ‘ghosts’, holders of duty slots who do not take them up, but often sell them on to other providers hoping to pick up Crown Court work. Apparently, the practitioner groups are struggling to reach a consensus on the issue.
Legal Action believes the MoJ and the Legal Aid Agency do not intend to hold a public consultation on the duty contracts. The latest they can commence is January next year, so the pressure is on to reach an agreement.