The legal aid scheme changed fundamentally following the introduction in April 2013 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). Since then the take-up of legal aid has dropped dramatically due to changes to the scope of the scheme, the eligibility rules and the contracting arrangements. It has never been more critical for the profession to come together to ensure that its voice is heard clearly by Government. LAPG will present well taken objections to the reform package, based on the impact of the reforms on the interests of clients, sound economic argument and the public interest. To ensure that our arguments have maximum impact, it is vital that we represent as large a proportion of the legal aid profession as possible.
“As a result of my discussions with the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, we now have, alongside the regulatory impact test, a legal aid impact test. Any Department that puts forward a new law that includes an offence where there is a possible need for legal aid for an individual will now have to have that assessment made before the legislation is introduced.”
Bridget Prentice MP, Hansard, Wednesday 26 October 2005.
LAPG engages directly with the LAA and MOJ to influence policy and improve the practical operation of the legal aid scheme. We’re concerned about the big policy issues, but also the day-to-day problems that impact on front-line practitioners and their clients. We’re currently liaising with the LAA, MOJ and other representative bodies on practical issues like CCMS, audits and tenders.
LAPG members receive regular updates on what is happening on the legal aid system. Thanks to our constructive working relationship with the Legal Aid Agency and Ministry of Justice we can often provide information more quickly and in more depth than anybody else.
We run unique courses tailored to the needs of legal aid practitioners.Our Annual Conference gives practitioners an opportunity to question politicians and senior officials from the MoJ and LAA. This year it will be held in Leeds in October.
Following the successful pilot of the LAPG Certificate in Practice Management in 2015 (with grant funding from the UKCES) we are running this course twice in 2016. Visit our dedicated website for more information: LAPG CPM
We are also running Pop-Up courses about the post LASPO world. More information here: LAPG Courses
If your organisation has a particular training need, do contact us so that we can discuss what we could provide.
The 14th Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards (LALY) ceremony, will take place on Thursday 7th July 2016 at Etc Venues 155 Bishopsgate London. Please take the time to nominate a colleague – click here
for more information.The photograph on the homepage is by Robert Aberman.