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Law Society win JR on LSC Family Tender

 LAW SOCIETY - win judicial review and LSC family contracts quashed!

Lord Justice Moses has today declared the LSC family tender process 'irrational'.

 The court stated that the Legal Services Commission's  failure to give advance notice of the panel membership was unlawful.

  The following types of contract have therefore been quashed

 family:

 

  • housing and family;
  • children only;
  • child abduction.

 

It will be interesting to see what will now happen with social welfare contracts even though advanced panel membership was not an issue in that tender.

 

The LSC is apparently considering an appeal.

 

The LSC website states:

 

"The LSC is obviously disappointed by the result and remains committed to ensuring that vulnerable people across England and Wales have access to justice. We are currently considering the detail of the judgment and its implications, including whether to appeal."

 

It goes on to advise firms to consult its tender pages for updates.

 

 

"We are conscious of the uncertainty facing providers and will publish further information in due course on the Civil contract for 2010 tender pages of our website. We will not be able to provide further information on the outcome of these proceedings or the impact on tenders (including appeals) in any category of law prior to this date."

 

 There will be a huge sigh of relief and a good nights sleep for some family solicitors who were excluded by the tender process and an urgent review of numbers of fee earners taken on by those firms who anticipated significant expansion as a result of their successful tender. 

 

One wonders whether a holding pattern will now  emerge pending the MOJ review by the Legal Aid Minister Jonathan Djanogly.

 

This again leaves all firms in a state of uncertainty and makes it almost impossible for legal aid firms to prepare business and resource capacity plans