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.”

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:-

Residence Test for Legal Aid found lawful by Court of Appeal

In September 2013 the Lord Chancellor proposed bringing in a residence test with regard to the provision of Legal Aid.  The proposal involved an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPOA) 2012 by means of a statutory instrument.  Public Law Project (PLP) took a challenge to this proposal on the basis that it was outside the aims of LASPOA 2012 and that it was discriminatory.  Before the High Court PLP were successful.  The Lord Chancellor appealed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal allowed this appeal.

Bedroom Tax Appeal Successful

Appeals were taken to the Court of Appeal by A and also by SR, PR and W challenging the decisions to apply the bedroom tax in their cases with regard to extra bedrooms they had.  A had suffered from very extreme domestic violence and was in what was known as a Sanctuary Scheme and had a safe room in her house.  SR and PR were the grandparents of W who is a severely disabled child.  They had an extra bedroom for carers who stayed overnight.  The case centred on the fact that these two types of case did not come under the exceptions contained in Regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and, thus, the appellants had part of their housing benefit removed because of the extra room.