The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has now announced that Family and Civil Contracts (2018 Standard Civil Contract) are to be extended yet again, until 2024.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), it seems, now intends to conduct a major review of Civil Legal Aid. One hopes that the implementation of any favourable recommendations does not take as long as the recommendations made by Sir Christopher Bellamy in relation to Criminal Legal Aid.
All current providers of Family or Civil Legal Aid will receive offers to vary their contracts. The amendment (if accepted by the firms) will allow providers to continue delivering contracted services until the new contract end date of 31 August 2024.
This obviously does not allow new firms to enter the marketplace but relieves existing Civil and Family firms from submitting a tender this calendar year.
It is likely therefore that the new tender round will now commence in the Autumn of 2023.
It could be argued that what legal aid practitioners need from the MOJ is not another review but some CASH to meet the increasing costs of running a legal firm.
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