Fixed fees for family solicitors to be introduced, despite widespread opposition

Family solicitors will be paid fixed fees in future, despite warnings by experts that such a system will drive practitioners out of the field.

The government has confirmed it will press ahead with plans to introduce graduated payments, to replace hourly rates, by April 2008.

In its response to Lord Carter’s review into legal aid, published today, it argues that the reform is “vital” to stop an unsustainable rise in legal aid spending, adding it will “encourage efficiency”.

Carter’s controversial proposals, which were launched for consultation in July, generated more than 2,000 responses.

“Most respondents expressed at least some opposition to fixed and graduated fees. However, the firm view of both the government and the LSC [Legal Services Commission] is that the principle of fixed and graduated fees is the right one,” says the report.

Related stories on the Carter Review
Concessions on legal aid fees anticipated as lawyers claim reforms would hit the needy
Efficiency drive ‘will hit care cases’
Child care legal aid plans reconsidered


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