The Legal Services Commission has announced today that it is extending the present family and combined family/housing contracts until midnight on 30 November 2011.
These particular contracts were previously extended until 14 December 2010. The LSC is further extending these contracts until late next year so as to give certainty to providers and clients.
The LSC will also allocate new matter starts to cover the period from 15 December 2010 to 30 November 2011. That allocation will be set out in the new contract schedule which will be sent to providers before 15 December 2010.
It added that an announcement on the harmonisation of family fees "will be made by Ministers as soon as it possible to do so".
The announcement follows the news last month that the LSC will not appeal against the High Court's judicial review decision to quash the outcome of the family tender round for new legal aid contracts.
The Law Society brought the judicial review after the recent tender round of family contracts cut the number of firms able to do legal aid work by 46%. The LSC was given permission to appeal after the High Court ruled it breached procurement law by failing to give advance notice of the requirement for panel membership. The court quashed the contracts in four categories of practice: family; housing and family; children only; and child abduction.