The arrogance of the Legal Aid Agency in their “a rush & a push & the land is ours” approach of deciding not to delay mandating CCMS from 1 April 2016 was frustrating and disappointing. When mandated, the system had not been working for several weeks beforehand following what the LAA refer to as a series of “enhancements” but what are known in common parlance as “fixing the latest error”. The net result is that CCMS is still unstable and prone to errors. I have lost count of the number of times I and my colleagues have been unable to log in, have logged in & automatically been logged out, have been told we are using back/forward buttons on browsers when we have done no such thing and have had to apologise to clients for wasting their time.
The Director of Legal Aid Casework and the Lord Chancellor – v – IS  EWCA Civ 464, Court of Appeal, 20 May 2016
IS was a party acting by the Official Solicitor and was trying to obtain representation to assist him in an immigration matter.
Clause 115 of the Bill will lead to the abolition of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments.
We attach here a link to a film called ‘Off the Cut’ about boatdwellers (about 21 minutes long). This concentrates on the issues which the Travellers Advice Team, amongst other things, advise boatdwellers on and we are happy to hear from boatdwellers who are facing injunction action by Canal and River Trust (CRT) because CRT state that they are not complying with their “Continuous Cruising Guidance”. It should be noted in the film that Mr Symonds for CRT incorrectly states that they are not a public authority. You can find the film here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5upAf7waaLg&feature=youtu.be.
EHRC have produced an important report called England’s most disadvantaged groups: Gypsies, Travellers and Roma (March 2016). You can find the report at the following link:-
The Welsh Government have provided an important update to their previous report and you can find this at the following link:-
This is no April fool. CCMS D-Day is here.
A recent Resolution survey confirmed that while 82% of users thought that CCMS was not ready for compulsory use, 71% of respondents said they welcome the concept of electronic working. I am among those 82% and 71% respectively. I am however filled with very little confidence going forwards and while I want CCMS to work, there seems little prospect of that any time soon.
Clause 115 of this Bill, which Bill is on its final stages through Parliament, will abolish Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments which Gypsy and Traveller groups, CLP and others predict will mean that there will be even less chance of provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers.
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.”
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.