Jonathan Swift KC, Joanne Clement and Rupert Paines in Court of Appeal legal aid challenge


At the conclusion of a two-day hearing, the Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment on the appeal by the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, and two solicitors’ firms which challenges the Lord Chancellor’s decision on how the duty solicitor service should in future be provided.

The appeal (heard together with a challenge by the Law Society) challenges the legality of the Lord Chancellor’s decisions to reduce the number of duty solicitor work contracts by around two-thirds. The primary ground of challenge is that the decision failed to make rational provision in respect of additional costs that will be faced by the law firms that survive.

Having reserved its judgment, the Court continued an injunction that prevents the Lord Chancellor from acting on his decision to limit the number of duty solicitor firms. The injunction will remain in place until the Court’s judgment is handed down.

The case has received significant press attention.

Law Gazette article – click here

Solicitors Journal article – click here