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27/03/2007

Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira

Le LSC a la Lanterne (or DCA, or both) continued.

Item 1. Fiona Woolf talks sense. Let the heavens shake. It is almost enough to make me apologise for this.

Item 2. Other civil firms going public on not signing include: Fisher Meredith and David Grey Solicitors as well as Bindmans. There are many others in my (geographic and legal) area apparently going the same way.

Item 3. According to a Law Society ‘click here’ style survey:

– 11% of firms are leaving legal aid, so not signing the contract.
– 47% of firms are considering not signing and so leaving legal aid work.
– 41% are reluctantly signing the contract.
– 1% of firms are happy to sign the contract.

Hmm. A 41% take up is not good for the united front (although the pressures are pretty extreme for a lot of firms), but over 50% possibly, maybe, not signing is dramatic.

[Edit. A good post addressed to Joe Public is here on Ye Yo. It puts the case for public concern very well, although her firm is signing.]

On the boo hiss side is the Law Society’s weasley ‘explanation‘ (PDF) of why the Pre-Action Protocol letter of claim was sent on the date it was, despite the fact that no JR will be issued before the due contract signing date, even on an abridged timetable.

“there is no ground to expedite the challenge to take place before 30 March 2007 because the court can make a declaration on it after practitioners have signed the contract. Therefore, this point will be valid for practitioners who have signed the contract as well as those who have not.”

Well, equally, there is no ground to do it so late that firms have to do the ‘will they? won’t they?’ hot coal dance, is there? Unless The Law Society somehow thought it would play a brinksmanship game with the LSC and lost, which seems plausible.

Ah well, ça ira. Par justice la nation l’aura

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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