A 10-year review of the Legal Services Act 2007 and legal services landscape is among 27 policies the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has proposed for the next government.
The proposals were published in the run-up to the last party conference season before the 2015 general election.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the 2007 act, CILEx wants a full review, including consideration of a single regulator and a review of the system of reserved, regulated and unregulated legal activities to ensure parity and fair competition.
Access to justice and legal aid feature large among the wish list. CILEx calls for a strategy for the delivery of free legal advice, a key recommendation of the Low Commission’s report.
It suggests an immediate review of the changes to civil and family legal aid under part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and ‘wholesale review’ of the changes to criminal legal aid.
It also calls on the government to educate the public on what legal aid is available and to amend the exceptional funding scheme under section 10 of LASPO, lowering the eligibility threshold.
On judicial review, CILEx says the permission stage of applications must be funded and cost restrictions on oral permission hearings lifted.
It would also like to see a review of part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, in particular clause 64, which requires a court to dismiss an application where it considers the conduct complained of would not to have resulted in a substantially different outcome.
It calls for a review of the changes to civil litigation following the Jackson reforms and asks the government to confirm it will not increase the small claims limit for personal injury cases and ensure that viable funding options remain open to claimants with no expectation on individuals to have ‘before the event’ insurance.
It also seeks greater support for courts and judges in working with litigants in person. On legal education and training, it seeks the removal of the age restriction, currently set at 24, for 50% funded apprenticeships, and calls for all apprenticeships to lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
CILEx president Frances Edwards (pictured) said: ‘We ask politicians and policy formers of all parties to adopt these proposals that will help build skills to maintain the UK legal sector’s global competitiveness, and support vulnerable people to ensure they can meaningfully access justice.'