People may recall that the Community Law Partnership’s judicial review of the LSC was listed for an adjourned hearing on 8 September. We have had the following statement from CLP which is given as is. We’ve been asked to note that CLP will not be making any further comment. After reading the statement and between the lines, I’m not sure any further comment is needed…
COMMUNITY LAW PARTNERSHIP AWARDED SOCIAL WELFARE CONTRACT
On 21st July the Legal Services Commission (LSC) informed us that we had failed to obtain a Social Welfare Law (SWL) contract to start on 14th October 2010. Since SWL is all we do this would have meant the end of the firm. We were refused a contract because we lost one point on one criterion in the tender process – the tribunals criterion.
Our appeal to the LSC was rejected. Therefore, we continued with our judicial review challenge that we had already lodged. The Law Society failed to back our court challenge despite a personal plea to Law Society President, Linda Lee.
On 2nd September the Law Society Gazette reported the initial hearing before Collins J where he stated: “I am bound to say this is a dreadful decision and on the face of it the approach [taken by the LSC] is totally irrational.”
The hearing was adjourned to 8th September. On 6th September the LSC stated that, after a verification process, they were offering us a contract which will allow us to continue with our work. We are delighted with this news. In these circumstances the court action has been settled.
We would like to thank all those who have provided us with letters and messages of support in this process – this support has been vital in enabling us to continue our fight. We would like to pay tribute to the barristers who have assisted us in our challenge: Marc Willers of Garden Court; Zia Nabi of 1 Pump Court; and David Lock of No 5 Chambers.
Above all we would like to thank and pay tribute to the loyal and dedicated CLP staff who have stuck with the partners through this most stressful process. We look forward to continuing to provide an excellent service to the homeless, others in housing need, and those with benefits and debt problems in the West Midlands and to Gypsies and Travellers nationwide for a long time to come.
Chris Johnson, Rosaleen Kilbane and Michael McIlvaney