Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Archive for March 2013

Alternative Business Structures – an update

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The Solicitors Regulatory Authority published a report in January 2013 on progress with ABS during its first year. This shows that the pace of applications for and approvals of ABS licences has quickened. Of the 70 or so approvals granted by January 2013, 40 were approved over the months before that date.

Evidence that the approval rate is not slackening can be seen in the announcement at the beginning of March 2013 of the licence granted to BT Law Ltd. This is stated to bring the total of approvals to over 100.

Information from the SRA is at

Information about BT Law Ltd is at{2a29c4bb-5c5b-4ef3-861f-7c00a0c6653b}

The full register of ABS approvals is at


Written by lwtmp

March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Chapter 10, Chapter 9

Implementation of Law Commission proposals

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The third report on the implementation of Law Commission reports was published in January 2013. It makes pretty sorry reading.

It is noted that “the new House of Lords procedure for Law Commission Bills is proving to be effective in implementing uncontroversial changes. The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act received Royal Assent in March 2012 and the Trusts (Capital and Income) Bill completed its passage through Parliament on 7 January 2013, both of which followed the new procedure.”

But apart from these triumphs, the report also states that while “Considerable progress has been made by the Government in taking forward many of the Law Commission’s recommendations during the reporting period …it has  unfortunately not been possible to complete the implementation of any of the Commission’s reports since the previous report to Parliament.”

The only piece of good news is that the report also states that no Commission reports have been rejected.

The Government’s excuse is that it has to focus on dealing with economic matters, and therefore this reduces the priority for law reform. But this argument does not consider whether there may be economic savings to be made if the law was made more rational. There must surely be a limit to the ability of Governments to praise the quality of Law Commission work, and make so little response to it?

The full report (and it is not long) is at

Written by lwtmp

March 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Chapter 4

Back to the future – the rebirth of ‘legal aid’

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When the Legal Services Commission was created, legal aid was technically replaced by the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service. The abolition of the LSC, from 1 April 2013, is leading to some significant ‘rebranding’. This note summarises the changes, and updates the text in my book which is now out of date.

  1. The Legal Services Commission becomes the Legal Aid Agency on 1 April 2013 .
  2. Community Legal Service (CLS) will be referred to as civil legal aid from 1 April 2013.
  3. Criminal Defence Service (CDS) will be referred to as criminal legal aid from 1 April 2013.
  4. Community Legal Advice will be renamed as Civil Legal Advice from 1 April 2013. It will have the strapline: ‘Civil Legal Advice, a national adviceline for England & Wales, paid for by Legal Aid’.
  5. CDS Direct will be renamed as Criminal Defence Direct (CDD) from 1 April 2013.


Written by lwtmp

March 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

Posted in Chapter 10, Chapter 5