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December 2014


Legal Action

if you have a message regarding the magazine, please contact the editor Louise Heath at

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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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This is the time of year to reflect on the events of the last 12 months and what the future may hold. Legal aid practices and not-for-profit advice centres have suffered swingeing cuts, but have also proved to be remarkably resilient and determined to continue to challenge the government’s attacks on access to justice.


Doctors report seeing an increase in the number of their patients who need social welfare law advice, and warn that this is having a bad effect on people’s health. Steve Hynes outlines the findings from research published by LAG.

Citizens Advice, the national organisation for Citizens Advice Bureaux, has won government funding to provide support to witnesses in the criminal justice system. The service was previously provided by the charity Victim Support.


How can firms avoid ending up out of pocket when a court orders them to instruct an expert witness, and the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will only agree to pay half the bill? Carol Storer explains.


Getting it right on staff recruitment

December, 2014 by Vicky Ling

Employing the right people is vital to any practice’s success but it isn’t always easy, particularly for small firms. Vicky Ling advises on how to recruit wisely.


Mackesys demise blamed on 'seven-figure debts'

December, 2014 by Catherine Baksi

The closure of the south London criminal defence firm has been shrouded in confusion, claim and counterclaim. Freelance legal affairs journalist Catherine Baksi investigates what really happened.


'At the end, I felt as if I had run a marathon'

December, 2014 by Edited extract from Mental Health Tribunals Handbook

John, a patient diagnosed with a personality disorder, explains what it was like appearing before a mental health tribunal, and why it was important to have a solicitor who knew him well.

Use it or lose it

LASPO took much – but not all – education law out of the scope of legal aid. There is still a lot that can be done to protect children having problems with their schooling. Dan Rosenberg explains the types of cases that are still funded, and how practitioners can make sure that as many young people as possible benefit from the help that remains available.

Law and practice

Key provisions of Immigration Act 2014

December, 2014 by Jawaid Luqmani

The Immigration Act (IA) 2014 received royal assent on 14 May 2014 and is divided into seven parts, with nine schedules. The aim of this article by Jawaid Luqmani is to focus on provisions currently in force, which are likely to affect a significant number of practitioners.

Law and practice

Jesse Nicholls examines the way in which judicial review and civil claims arising from deaths involving state culpability can be used to ensure full, fair and fearless investigations are conducted into such deaths, and to hold state bodies to account. Parts 1 (published in November 2014 Legal Action) and 2 of this article consider the common decisions that can be challenged by judicial review in inquest cases, the grounds of challenge available, some aspects of public law procedure and remedies that are particularly relevant to inquest judicial review. Part 3 of this article (to be published in February 2015 Legal Action) will examine the range of civil claims that may be available in death cases.