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April 2015

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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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In the run-up to the official start of the general election campaign, lobby groups, including those in the legal and advice sector, have been publishing their manifestos or other documents aimed at influencing the political parties. Some amount to not much more than wish lists, while others, such as the Low Commission’s follow-up report, include new research and analysis, as well as their policy asks. The Legal Aid Practitioners Group manifesto includes much detailed analysis and many policy requests, including returning advice on housing benefits and refugee family reunion cases to the scope of legal aid.

News

Court fee hikes introduced despite fears over impact
Increases in court fees were introduced last month by the Ministry of Justice, despite protests from campaigners including LAG and the threat of legal action from the Law Society and others concerned about the impact on access to justice.

News

Defend Magna Carta

April, 2015 by Fiona Bawdon

The Justice Alliance once again proved its ability to mobilise support in defence of legal aid with a three-day ‘relay’ from the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede in Berkshire, culminating in a protest outside parliament to coincide with the start of the government’s controversial global law summit.

Column

Last call for CPD

April, 2015 by Vicky Ling

Fixed professional development hours are out; ‘continuing competence’ is in. Vicky Ling explains the impact of changes to the Solicitors Regulation Authority training regulations

Feature

With a rise in homelessness and an acute housing shortage, demand for housing advice is increasing, but the number of cases being done on legal aid is falling. Catherine Baksi investigates the looming crisis in housing work

Feature

Suffer the children

April, 2015 by James Kenrick

For all the government’s pre-LASPO assurances that children would be protected from the cuts, official figures show that civil legal aid has all but collapsed for the young.

Use it or lose it

Drastic cuts to prison law funding leave prisoners ever more marginalised. Simon Creighton and Deborah Russo highlight the few areas still open to legal aid but warn of the dangers of leaving prisoners without recourse to legal representation.

Legal aid may be down, but it’s not out completely – at least not yet. Legal Action s Use it or lose it series aims to highlight what remains of legal aid, and to show practitioners how they can make the most of it to help their clients obtain much-needed access to justice.

Law and practice

Mental health law update

April, 2015 by Richard Charlton

The Court of Appeal rules that a conditionally discharged patient’s recall was lawful, even though he wasn’t given written reasons for it. Richard Charlton examines the case of Lee-Hirons and other key decisions.

Law and practice

Recent developments in education law

April, 2015 by Angela Jackman and Eleanor Wright

Angela Jackman and Eleanor Wright look at what the Children & Families Act 2014 will mean for those with special educational needs.