[13 July 2006]
Legal Aid: A market-based approach to reform
Lord Carter's final report on the review of legal aid procurement is the conclusion of a year's analysis and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. The report sets out detailed and costed recommendations for a new procurement system for legal aid in England and Wales.

Executive summary, recommendations and chapters one to three [PDF 523kb, 72 pages]
Chapters four to six [PDF 493kb, 66 pages]
Annexes [PDF 691kb, 66 pages]

The Department for Constitutional Affairs published a consultation paper in response to this report today

The current regional supplier market
This document accompanies chapter two of the final report of Lord Carter's review of legal aid procurement. It sets out the national and regional profiles for criminal, civil, family and mixed firms.

The current regional supplier market [PDF 327kb, 60 pages]

Research into criminal defence services in other jurisdictions
The review commissioned the University of Westminster to undertake research into how other jurisdictions provide criminal defence services.

International research project report - part one [PDF 492kb, 30 pages]
International research project report - part two [PDF 590kb, 33 pages]
International research project report appendix - part one [PDF 422kb, 47 pages]
International research project report appendix - part two [PDF 499kb, 33 pages]
International research project report appendix - part three [PDF 530kb, 28 pages]

[15 June 2006]
The legal aid market for solicitors: Summary of new and published research [PDF 70kb, 12 pages]
Lord Carter's interim report in February 2006 set out the need for substantial reform of legal aid procurement, especially criminal defence services. In particular, the report outlined that through a process of managed change, a steady-state should be reached by 2009 whereby increased volumes of work should be given to the most efficient and good quality suppliers in return for lower prices. New and published research has helped inform the review's proposals for market based reform. This paper provides a summary of previously published research, as well as the following new research:

FreshMinds solicitor survey 2005 [PDF 465kb, 54 pages]
PKF analysis of FreshMinds solicitor survey 2005: part one [PDF 519kb, 25 pages]
PKF analysis of FreshMinds solicitor survey 2005: part two [PDF 570kb, 26 pages]
Otterburn Legal Consulting analysis of FreshMinds solicitor survey 2005 and subsequent research 2006 [PDF 283kb, 43 pages]

[12 April 2006]
Legal Services Commission MDA research into impact of London competitive tendering proposals on BME firms.
In response to the publication of this research, Lord Carter today said,

"I welcome MDA's report, which brings into sharp focus some of the important issues for the legal profession and the government to consider, as we work to ensure that providers of legal services recognise and respond to the diverse needs of clients across England and Wales.

It is essential that those who seek legal advice and representation are confident in the quality of advice and care provided to them by their lawyers. As MDA's report shows, this becomes especially important for those from BME backgrounds; non-English speaking groups; or vulnerable groups, for instance, those with learning difficulties, or victims of domestic and sexual violence.

My 'Review of Legal Aid Procurement' will continue to look carefully at these issues. If needs are not being met, robust measures should be in place, whether contractual or regulatory, which tackle firms failing in this duty. I am working closely with the professions to ensure that any new proposals deliver value for money and clients have confidence in their legal advice and representation.”

[31 March 2006]
Summary of Lord Carter�s interim report [PDF 219kb, 4 pages]
Lord Carter recently released his interim report, Procurement of Criminal Defence Services - Market-based reform. This leaflet provides a summary of the report.

[9 February 2006]
Procurement of Criminal Defence Services: Market-based reform [PDF 397kb, 48 pages]
This report was published by Lord Carter on 9 February 2006, as part of his review of legal aid procurement. He proposes reforms to introduce competition between good quality law firms delivering publicly-funded criminal defence work.

The report recommends a phased transition toward a sustainable market for criminal defence services deliverable nationwide by 2009. Moving to a sustainable market-based procurement system should help create a quality defence service that rewards the most efficient suppliers, provides clients with appropriate choice and brings greater predictability to cost.

A news release announcing the report was also published on 9 February.

[5 July 2005]
A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid
A Department for Constitutional Affairs paper outlining the Government's long-term strategy for legal aid reform. The paper addresses legal aid procurement issues and includes the Terms of Reference for Lord Carter's review. The paper was laid in Parliament on 5 July 2005.

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Page last updated - 13 July 2006.
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