Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

T – Minus 312 Hours

In 2013, I attended a Legal Aid Practitioners Group Conference in Manchester where CCMS was one of the main subjects up for discussion. The panel of assorted senior LAA officers told us about the CCMS pilot project. I listened and took it in. A modern way of making applications? Well, it probably could be more convenient and more efficient I thought. The LAA accepted then that there were a number of issues with the system, but were confident that they could be resolved. The message was very clear: “This is a major project…we’re committed to this…we’re spending lots of money on it…and it will become mandatory, so prepare yourselves.”

Housing and Planning Bill 2016 Clause 115

We have had sight of the draft guidance now made available by DCLG. The EHRC’s Briefing Paper sets out all the key arguments for the retention of the current statutory scheme – i.e. sections 225/226 Housing Act 2004 when read together with section 8 Housing Act 1985 – and we cannot improve upon its content. There is an even greater need for the current statutory scheme to remain in place so as to ensure that those vulnerable Gypsies and Travellers who are now excluded from relying upon the positive planning guidance on the provision of caravan sites contained in Planning policy for traveller sites 2015 by virtue of the change to the planning definition of ‘gypsies and travellers’ can have their accommodation needs properly met. Clause 115 and the draft guidance will, quite simply, not achieve this.  For the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s briefing paper see:

Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers Chris Johnson, Travellers Advice Team at Community Law Partnership

March 15th 2016

Computer Says No

Computer Says No

The Legal Aid Agency (“the LAA”)  announced some time ago that it would be introducing a Client & Costs Management System (“CCMS”) by which practitioners would make applications for legal aid online as a replacement for the current system of paper application forms. Following a pilot scheme in the North East starting Autumn 2012, the system was rolled out nationally. CLP began to use the system in late 2014 to give ourselves 10 or so months to prepare for the date of mandatory use being October 2015.

Corbyn calls for Review of Civil Legal Aid

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party,  has stated: “Legal aid has been referred to as the forgotten pillar of the welfare state. It is time to challenge that perception. The principles of access to justice and human rights for all is precisely for what Labour stands.” He has set up a Commission to review the disastrous chages to civil legal aid.  See the No Mad Laws Website at:-