Central & Local Government Urls listed,
The Ministry of Justice this afternoon issued an announcement via the Bravo portal system that the outcome of the criminal legal aid duty provider tender would be delayed until 15 October 2015.
We are very aware of the levels of stress and anxiety for those of our members who have been awaiting the outcome of the tender for some time and we have written to the lord chancellor today to express our grave and significant concerns about the impact of the continued delay.
In addition Law Society president Jonathan Smithers told the lord chancellor that, 'We are also deeply troubled about the timing and content of yesterday's consultation on criminal advocacy. Of particular concern is the suggestion that solicitors might be restricted from instructing in-house advocates, even when this is in the best interest of their clients'.
Law Society guidance on legal remedies
The Law Society has prepared information on potential remedies for criminal defence solicitors should they be unsuccessful in relation to all or part of their tender.
Stress and pastoral care
We are acutely aware of the stress criminal solicitors are living under as they await the Ministry of Justice announcement on the outcome of the criminal legal aid duty provider tender.
We have prepared practical information for firms who are unsuccessful in relation to all or part of their tender. However, we are also reminding members that confidential support is also available during this extremely difficult period.
The Law Society has a pastoral care helpline that offers support from 09:00 to 17:00 on weekdays.
In addition, LawCare provides a free and completely confidential helpline operating 365 days a year. The trained staff and volunteers have worked in the law and understand the pressures lawyers face.
Awareness of LawCare among legal professionals is low. It is important that criminal law practitioners are aware of this service at this intensely stressful time.
LawCare has one phone line, but they will always call back if a message is left.
Law Society pastoral care helpline: 020 7320 5795
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