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Legal Aid Reform

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 12 February, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) published the following papers which take forward the Government's legal aid reform programme set out in Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead:

Police Station: Boundaries, Fixed Fees and New Working Arrangements—Consultation Paper;

Market Stability—Response to Consultation;

A Consultation Plan for Duty Solicitor Call Centre and CDS Direct; and

Best Value Tendering for Very High Cost Cases (VHCC)—Consultation Paper.

Legal Aid reform: the Way Ahead was published on 28 November 2006. It followed the extensive consultation we undertook on the proposals set out in the final report by Lord Carter of Coles, published on 13 July 2006. We very carefully considered and are continuing to consider the suggestions and concerns expressed by practitioners during the consultation. We have already made changes to the timing, sequencing and detail of some of Lord Carter's proposals.

We value the input of practitioners and interested parties on the ongoing reform of legal aid. We are grateful to all those who contributed to the recent consultation on market stability, and encourage all those with an interest to contribute both to the current consultations, and to the consultation on the Duty Solicitor Call Centre and CD2S Direct, which will begin in March 2007.

Copies of the papers published on 12 February are available on the Legal Services Commission's website at www.legalservices.gov.uk/criminal/consultations.asp and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.