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Law Society calls for parliamentary probe of legal aid procurement

By Thomas Patrick O'Brien

23 November 2015 at 09:01 BST

The Law Society has requested an urgent investigation into the government's procurement of criminal legal aid contracts.


Unable to proceed with new crime duty provider contracts, the Legal Aid Agency has found itself stalled in 69 out of 85 procurement areas until 115 procurement law challenges have been resolved. The agency has delayed commencing the contracts until 1 April due to the litigation. 

Falling short

Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, has written to Bob Neill MP, chair of the justice select committee, and Meg Hillier MP, chair of the public accounts committee, over concerns the LAA’s evaluation process was falling short of robust standards.

Restoring confidence 

Mr Smithers has voiced concern that the evaluation process used by the LAA ‘requires an independent assessment to be made to restore confidence, to help to resolve the litigation quickly, and end the chronic ongoing uncertainty for all firms involved in this process (whether they have been awarded a contract or not) and crucially for the citizens and communities across England and Wales who need access to the justice system’. Source: The Law Gazette


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