Fixed Rate Payment for Legal Advice in London

Meeting: 
MQT on 2007-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2007
Reference: 
2007/0926
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Given the recent decision of the Legal Services Commission to pay a nationwide fixed rate for advice cases, and given that costs for giving advice in London are greater than elsewhere because of the higher costs in the capital and the fact that there is a greater concentration of people with difficult and complex needs, what does the Mayor think needs to be done to ensure that advice provision in London can be sustained?

Answer

Answer for Fixed Rate Payment for Legal Advice in London

Answer for Fixed Rate Payment for Legal Advice in London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The question rightly acknowledges the unfair adverse impact in London of the new national standard fixed rates for legal aid provision. They do not take into account the costs of the capital and the complex needs of many Londoners including those with disabilities. For general civil legal aid work the Government acknowledges that from October, when the new fees take effect, almost seven out of every ten legal aid providers in London will face a cut in their income, compared with only 38% of those delivering legal aid services nationally.

In addition, a much higher proportion of legal aid clients in London are from black or ethnic minority Londoners than in any other region, and small firms that are run by Londoners who are black or from ethnic minorities will be badly hit by the changes. I have therefore urged the Government to think again, and to ensure that the diversity of London's legal aid providers, and the not for profit advice sector, are protected.