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September 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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With the cuts in public services set to continue, the role of legal and advice services in holding the state to account can only become more important, as budget reductions increasingly risk undermining people’s rights.

News

The Law Society has published an interactive map (available on its website) of areas where the government is proposing to close local county courts, magistrates’ courts or both, as well as tribunal venues. The map also shows where the cases would move to and how long it would take by public transport to get to the alternative venues.

News

Criminal defence firms have called off their protest against fee cuts as ‘a goodwill gesture’, after 52 days.

Cover story

Cutting through the fog of fees

September, 2015 by Catherine Baksi

While government ministers glibly talk of social welfare lawyers being paid £200 an hour, back in the real world, Catherine Baksi finds a payment system bogged down in complexity and that some in the profession are turning to state benefits to top up diminishing earnings.

A client whose wife and children died in a fire in a tower block, explained why he had chosen me as his lawyer: ‘The others I saw all cried over me but you said, “This is what will happen and this is the struggle we will have.” And it did happen quite like you said and at least we fought for the truth.’

Column

Peer pressure

September, 2015 by Vicky Ling

If your lawyers are good and clients are satisfied, a poor peer review assessment can come as something of a shock, as one of Vicky Ling’s clients found out. How do you avoid an unpleasant surprise?

Feature

Abuse victims are still up against the clock

September, 2015 by Cris McCurley and Jenny Beck

The government’s recent concession over the two-year cut-off for evidence of domestic violence was hard won but there is still more work to be done to ensure that vulnerable women like S are protected, say Cris McCurley and Jenny Beck

Feature

Making a drama out of a crisis

September, 2015 by LAG

What did those at the legal aid coalface make of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s groundbreaking play, The Invisible, about life after LASPO?

Use it or lose it

Some creative thinking required

September, 2015 by Douglas Johnson

Discrimination cases are still formally in scope of legal aid after LASPO, but the means by which help is available are not always obvious, leading to exceptionally low take-up. Douglas Johnson explains how to put this right.
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

September, 2015 by Joanna Dean and Alison Fiddy

Joanna Dean and Alison Fiddy round up the latest reviews, reports and guidance on the deprivation of liberty safeguards alongside other mental health policy and legislation.

Law and practice

Recent developments in social security law

September, 2015 by Simon Osborne and Sally Robertson

Simon Osborne and Sally Robertson examine recent developments in case-law relating to claims and overpayments, decisions and appeals (including tribunals), human rights and EU law.