About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

LSC contracts.

Good post on Nearly Legal about the LSC contract debacle.

Less supportive post by John Hemmings (August 6th) - I have posted a comment - join in do! I am puzzled by his reference to parents being refused legal aid. Perhaps he knows something we don't? I am also disappointed by his reference to lawyers rolling over in the face of care proceedings. I am sure some do a very bad job but I think most of us give it a good go. It is true that one doesn't win very often at a final hearing if you are representing a parent. In my experience if you are going to win in the sense of children returned home to parents you will usually have done so before the final hearing which is then compromised with a supervision order or the LA withdrawing. I do not agree that most care orders are made without justification but I do agree that some are made without sufficient justification and because one judge takes a view that another one would not. I would like to see more involvement of the higher courts in the general administration further down the line - the occasional Court of Appeal Judge in the magistrates court? Some sort of random review / spot checking of judgments? A point for the Family Justice Review perhaps?

I would also like to see this quote from Hedley J inscribed somewhere in every court room:

Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria) [2007] 1 FLR 2050:

“…society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent. It follows too that children will inevitably have both very different experiences of parenting and very unequal consequences flowing from it. It means that some children will experience disadvantage and harm, whilst others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of our fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the State to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event it could simply not be done.”


john said...

Strictly what happens is that the legal aid certificate is withdrawn.

The Lewisham family went on to contest the proceedings as LIP and won.

The Hertford case was more complex.

I have asked the LSC for figures on how often this happens.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that some practitioners who administer legal aid certificates have on occasions (that I have come across) attached someone else's details so as to make the application for legal aid look like a high cost case. One I know charged an extra £25,000 to someone's certificate.

As a MF of considerable experience I uncover all sorts of goings on by family lawyers inc the " they didn't do what i wanted them to do" and the " they didn't fight for me , just agreed with the LA".

I understand that there are many great hard hitting family lawyers out there but they have to work with and against the same people in the same courts. The whole system is very incestuous by it's very nature.

When I go in to court I really don't mind who I upset , provided I don't upset the Judge.

What needles me is when I roundly beat the oppositon in court and the looser gets paid . me ? I get the satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

The solicitor dealing with our case also outreaches for the council taking action against us. Is this therefore not a conflict of interest, she wouldn't allow the legal aid to be transferred to another firm of solicitors and she is doing the minimal of work on our case so we are stuck with half-hearted work by the solicitor, more interested in getting the addtional fees from the outreach work from the council than fighting for our rights. Luckily we managed to get a barrister of our choice