Access for Justice Act 1999 created the Legal Services Commission. The Act allowed not-for-profit organisation to contract with the LSC to provide legal services (page 1)
Discussion paper on general impacts of regulation
General discussion of incentives and regulatory risks under traditional partnership and ABS models – pages 9 -32
Impacts on partnerships of deregulation
In England, as a consequence of the Access to Justice Act (1999), capped budgets for civil legal aid were introduced, operating by a
system of contracts offered to local providers. This means that there is no longer any entitlement to funding in civil cases; entitlement has been replaced with a scheme for prioritising cases and resources (rationing) as a way of meeting the needs of the general public within a limited budget. Alongside this, a complex system of controls has been set in place to manage and ration access to legal services (page 267)
In relation to pilot study of (funded legal aid?) work, firms were only allowed to obtain 12.5% of market share to ensure competition within region of preferred providers (page 10). Report believes this will lead to a reduction in the number of firms doing criminal legal work. Report argues this will have a knock-on effect on barristers, who would be locked out of competing for work (page 13). Further discussion on fixing market share (page 17) for each bidding firm.
Prediction that new entrants will only be interested in profitable areas such as property, wills and employment – page 20
Report discusses impact of Woolf reforms on specific areas of practice – generally improved them, in terms of resolving cases (page xv). Discusses the emergence of CFAs (page xvii)
Report wants regulatory shift from being reactive to proactive (page ii) – which will cost, in terms of risk management etc.
“The CDS reforms considered in this IA are those that were implemented in April 2007 (Magistrates
Suggest that if consumer interest is interpreted to mean the lowest possible cost this will be to the detriment of consumer interest – Page 5.
ABS may result in: more competition, better complaints-handling, and possibly fewer complaints, more cost-effective delivery, new methods of access and delivery
Suggests a future increase in the use of solicitor advocates as more obtain higher rights of audience (page 31). Discusses new payment mechanisms for legal aid work (page 35), which led to a reduction in rates charged by some practice areas (page 35).