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By SLAS Spokesperson

Twenty eight firms, including large firms such as Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith, wrote on 17th November 2006 to the Lord Chancellor warning that the proposed legal aid reforms in England and Wales were a real threat to access to justice for some of the most vulnerable people in society.  These firms may be concerned, not because they are involved in the delivery of legal aid but because they carry out a certain amount of pro bono social legal representation and they apprehend that the requirement for this will extend with the increase of the gaps caused by the reduction of the availability of legal aid.  The reforms in question include the introduction of competitive tendering and the abolition of hourly billing which, according to the law firms, would result in it not making commercial sense for solicitors to take on legal aid business.  See the Financial Times 20th November 2006.


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