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The Legal Services Commission (LSC) published on 22 June its final fixed fee schemes for family and family mediation work. Family and Family Mediation Fee Schemes for October 2007 was produced following a six week consultation. It sets out the LSC's intention to introduce, from 1 October 2007:
fixed fees for initial advice in all public law family cases and representation in care and supervision proceedings (excluding advocacy) (levels 1 to 3);
fixed fees for initial advice and Family Help (lower) (Levels 1 and 2) in private law family cases;
revised fee arrangements in mediation cases;
changes consequent on the Funding Code consultation including removing residential assessments from the scope of legal aid and a new test for separate representation in care and supervision proceedings.
The new fees will apply to funding granted on or after 1 October 2007. At levels 1 or 2, the fees will therefore apply to cases where the provider grants legal aid (or carries out mediation) on or after that date. The level 3 care proceedings fees will apply to all applications for certificates made on or after 1 October 2007. The LSC is still considering its final response to the consultation with regard to level 3 in private family, and taking more time to make a final decision on that level. Private law family level 3 fees will not be implemented on 1 October 2007. The LSC will consult later in the year on fees for private law Level 4 (final hearing work). Family and Family Mediation Fee Schemes for October 2007 is available on the LSC website at http://www.legalservices.gov.uk/docs/civil_consultations/Consultation_response_with_covers.pdf
The Government's response to the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee report on the legal aid reform programme Implementing Legal Aid Reform (Cm 7158) was also published on 22 June. The response confirms the Government's and the LSC's intention to proceed with the reforms of legal aid set out in Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead. The new document is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/legal-aid-reform.pdf