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That could have gone better


Oh dear. The LSC claims an 85% sign up rate to the unified contract. Assuming that this is accurate, this seems to me to fall into the hinterland of bad, but not bad enough to stop the roll-out. In fact, it is pretty much the precise point where the LSC can argue the shortfall will be made up by remaining firms taking on more, but also where this will, in reality, present severe difficulties.

The figure is the headline national rate, as I suggested would be given. I don’t think the headline rate will tell the whole story. It appears that specific areas will likely have a significantly lower take up.

As to what will happen in those areas (which I suspect will include areas with a concentration of deprivation) we will have to wait and see. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were quiet discussions around the idea that late signings might be accepted. But some excellent firms are lost.

But if the LSC’s figures are right, then it is now down the the Law Society’s Judicial Review.

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.


  1. Marcin Tustin

    Yes, but more interestingly what proportion of solicitors engaged in legal aid work at least 50% of their billable time work at these organisations? I’d be interested to know what the discrepancy is between that figure and 85%.

  2. contact

    I’m not sure I follow. Do you mean what proportion of the legal aid billable hours (ie the actual legal aid work done) follows from that 85% of firms? A good question. I am guessing that you suspect that the signers will do a higher proportion of private client work? Maybe so, although it seems more likely that there will be a department or two doing legal aid nearly full time in an otherwise private client firm


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