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Pink Tape has moved

Pink Tape has moved away from wordpress.com onto self-hosted installation so this blog now reverts to http://www.legalfamily.wordpress.com. Any new Pink Tape blog posts will be found at http://pinktape.co.uk

Thankin’ yoo.

At a judicial review directions hearing this morning, the High Court granted the Law Society’s application for an expedited hearing of its challenge to the Legal Services Commission’s conduct of the tendering process for family legal aid contracts. The hearing will be heard on Tuesday 21 September with judgment expected to be delivered on Friday 24 September.

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The court also ordered that the new contracts should not be issued pending the hearing of the case, though the LSC’s work on appeals and verification will continue. The LSC has agreed that existing civil legal aid contracts will be extended by one month.

See Law Society news item here.

Hat tip to Noel at Philcox Gray & Co.

Discussion with my charming oppo this week about his reputation for verbosity (a characteristic I occasionally  share – no, really) has prompted me into taking pre-emptive action. I present therefore, the condensed response to the Family Justice Review questions. As my dad always told me: ‘ask a silly question…’

Question 1: What does the family justice system mean to you? What should the purpose of the family justice system be? What should not be included in the family justice system?

Don’t confuse the witness – that’s three questions! The family justice system is a mechanism through which disputes between adults and parents can be resolved where other methods have failed, through which vulnerable adults can acquire protection from violence or abuse, and through which the state’s exercise of its responsibility to protect children can be properly scrutinised. It’s purpose is to strike the balance between the rights and needs of children and the rights and needs of their parents, to intervene as between parents and to check the intervention of the state into families. The family justice system should not provide a forum for ventilation of parental, spousal or ex-partner dispute or for the apportioning of blame except insofar as that is necessary in order to establish and ensure the welfare of children and / or vulnerable adult parties. The family justice system should not provide a ‘day in court’ simply in order to give bitter exes an opportunity to spout venom and bile.

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Right – metaphor sufficiently stretched. Sorry. I refer to the title of Nearly Legal’s recent post: LSC: goalposts aren’t moved, just very bendy, which articulates the latest contortions by the LSC.  Thanks Nearly Legal, although it has made my head hurt.

Incidentally, solicitors embroiled in the tender debacle may wish to join in the debate on the ilegal fora here.

Ok, we’re sort of getting to the point of going live on the redesigned site, along with a switcherooney of hosting. It should all be smooth and seamless and magical, and technically I shouldn’t even need to pre-warn you, but I suspect that there will be lumps and glitches before we get there. Be patient.

A couple of pieces in the Guardian which are worth a read: here and here. No soundbites, just common sense and a thoughtful approach to the problems. The first, by a very sensible and knowledgeable family magistrate, almost makes me waver in my long held view that family cases are unsuitable for disposal in the magistrates…Almost.

Everyone’s at it. Now the Law Society has launched a JR of the LSC in respect of their tender process in family matters. See the Gazette. As reported yesterday another JR application yesterday got off to a positive start, with Collins J describing the LSC’s approach as irrational. That matter was adjourned off for 8 days. So that’s 2 JRs, and if Nearly Legal is right (see yesterday’s post) there may be more to come. Who says there’s no legal news in August?

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