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Legal Services Commission

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will discuss with the Legal Services Commission the incidence of solicitors paying referral fees to other solicitors for advocacy work under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme. (284277)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is currently investigating a small number of specific allegations that have been made about referral fees. The LSC will continue to investigate any specific issues brought to its attention, and will respond appropriately if a firm has breached the terms of its contract with the LSC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding has been allocated by his Department through the (a) exceptional funding process and (b) Legal Services Commission to Green Planning Solutions in relation to planning inquiries in the last five years. (284085)

Advocacy before a planning inquiry is outside the normal scope of civil legal aid. Green Planning Solutions have not been, and are not, contracted providers of civil legal aid, and therefore would not have provided legal aid advice on planning matters. Neither my Department, nor the Legal Services Commission, have any record of legal aid for advocacy before a planning inquiry being granted to a client of Green Planning Solutions under the exceptional funding scheme.