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Clarification as to 2nd wave of solicitors cuts

There appears to have been some confusion over the deal made between the MOJ and the law society regarding the second wave of 8.75% cuts due to be applied to solicitors next summer. 
 
To assist, this is the MOJs statement on the issue: 
The Government will defer changes to the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme until Summer 2015, to align with the second fee reduction for litigators.  This will allow us to take into account the outcomes of the reviews by Sir Bill Jeffrey and Sir Brian Leveson, as well as any impact on legal aid spend from falling crime rates, and earlier remuneration changes. In the same way, we will consider any impact from the above factors before introducing the second fee reduction for litigators.”
 
The full document can be found here: 
 
Here is The Law Society’s statement on that agreement indicating their interpretation of it: 
‘The ministry’s pledge today to take the work of Sir Bill Jeffrey, Sir Brian Leveson’s review of criminal procedure as well as criminal justice reforms and the latest legal aid fund forecast into account before determining the final figure for the second cut (for both barristers and solicitors in 2015) is a further potential source of help for our members.” 
 
The full document can be found here: 
 
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2 thoughts on “Clarification as to 2nd wave of solicitors cuts

  1. It is also worth reading the briefing note for litigators on the MoJ site: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid-next-steps/user_uploads/litigation-note.pdf

    This restates the unenforceable agreement to take these matters into account but goes onto say: “Providers should plan and bid for duty and own client contracts on the basis of the second 8.75% reduction, as they will be expected to demonstrate that they are
    capable of delivering at that level. The fee cut will be no greater than this. The
    number of Duty Provider Work contracts will not change.”

    If, in summer 2015, the current or future Lord Chancellor says that he has considered the reviews and notes that large firms of solicitors are still solvent in the brave new world of efficient courts, then there will be every fiscal reason to introduce a further 8.75% cut.

    The whole point of efficiency drives is that they are repeatedly used to justify cuts not increases. If we are more efficient then it means we can work for less. The greater the efficiency, the less the cost of production. We are the producers. It is basic market economics. The MoJ does not have a special dispensation with the Chancellor to be run on an altruistic basis.

    In the same way, https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid-next-steps/user_uploads/advocacy-note.pdf , deferral of cuts to AGFS until the efficiency reviews means that the more efficient we can be the more it can be justified that we should be paid less. That is how it was justified in the consultation – less providers, more work, therefore less fees per case. Do we erase that from our memories now?

    Efficiency reviews are for the purpose of saving the tax payer money. They are not a driving force of fee increases; quite the reverse. This is not Machiavellian thinking. It is simple political reality.

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