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Legal aid update: Legal aid duty contract procurement process

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19 January 2016


Legal aid duty contract procurement process: Law Society calls for clarity as a matter of utmost urgency

Following widespread speculation that the two-tier criminal duty tender process will be abandoned by government, the Law Society called on the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and the Ministry of Justice to issue an urgent public statement to provide certainty for all involved in the contract procurement process.

The LAA yesterday advised the Law Society that there had been no change of policy. However, the LAA said that ministers review policy on a regular basis. We have therefore written to the minister, Shailesh Vara, today to ask for urgent clarification of plans for the future of the legal aid duty service, which offers advice to some of the most vulnerable clients.

The call for clarification comes two months after the we urged the Justice Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the government's procurement process for the new criminal legal aid contracts. The Society has been calling for an independent review of the procurement process, following concerns that the evaluation process used by the LAA was flawed.
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