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May 2013

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Legal Action

if you have a message regarding the magazine, please contact the editor Louise Heath at  lag@lag.org.uk.

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LAG is currently reviewing how we publish Legal Action online. As part of this process we have decided to discontinue the practice of posting a pdf version of the journal. As an interim measure we will continue to publish the digital version of articles and these will continue to be accessible to current subscribers for no charge.

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Editorial

An experienced criminal lawyer told LAG last month that the Criminal Defence Service is about the only part of the criminal justice system that works properly. This is now under threat. Other parts of the system, such as the Crown Prosecution Service, which has suffered deep cuts of 27.5 per cent, are creaking under the strain. The consultation paper on legal aid published last month by the Ministry of Justice includes plans for price competitive tendering (PCT) for criminal defence services. LAG fears that if the government’s plans are implemented, they would devastate the current network of providers and replace it with a low quality public defenders service, in which defendants have no choice but to take the service offered.

News

The consultation paper on legal aid, Transforming legal aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system, which was published last month by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), puts forward measures to cut a further £220 million from the legal aid budget.

News

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced changes to the judicial review procedure ‘so it cannot be used anymore as a cheap delaying tactic’.

In March 2013 Legal Action 7, Crispin Passmore from the Legal Services Board (LSB) highlighted the findings of the largest-ever survey of solicitors' firms - the largest group of legal service providers. In this article, Alex Roy, Head of Development and Research at the LSB, presents the findings of research looking at the most important stakeholder in the legal system - the citizen, consumer, or potential client.

Feature

Pressure points in the justice system - Part 1

May, 2013 by Ellie Palmer and Laura Wrixon

In the second of four articles on access to justice in an age of austerity, Ellie Palmer and Laura Wrixon, of the Law School at the University of Essex, look at family justice and housing. The article reviews the outcome of the third in a series of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seminars in which academics and practitioners presented their experiences to give an assessment of the then forthcoming legal aid cuts, their likely devastating impact and possible solutions for the future.

Law and practice

In a series of articles, Elizabeth Weil will detail the transformation of the benefits system that began officially last month. The first article considers the implementation of universal credit (UC) under the Welfare Reform Act (WRA) 2012.

Law and practice

In the first article in this series, Martha Spurrier set out the legal framework underpinning exceptional case funding and identified the key factors emerging from human rights and EU law that advisers should consider when applying for exceptional funding (see April 2013 Legal Action 23). This article will look more closely at the availability of exceptional funding for the out-of-scope areas of education and housing.