Legal Aid family tender is ruled unlawful
The tendering process for the Legal Aid scheme for new family law cases is unlawful and must be changed, the High Court has ruled.
The Legal Services Commission, which runs the £2.2bn scheme in England and Wales, has cut the number of firms able to offer legal aid from 2,400 to 1,300.
Two judges ruled the process as “unfair, unlawful and irrational”.
The Law Society argued the scheme used was so flawed it threatened to create “legal aid deserts” around the country.
Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Beatson allowed the Law Society’s application for judicial review.
They said the unfair tendering process could not be allowed to stand because it would prevent “the vulnerable and deprived from obtaining the services of very well qualified and experienced family lawyers”.
The Legal Services Commission is considering the verdict and whether to appeal.