The Legal Services Act 2007, and the more recent green paper from the Ministry of Justice on reforming legal aid, are part of what will turn out to be a series of moves to modernise the legal profession and allow price-based competition and free-market forces to mould a new future.
The ultimate aim will be a greater degree of collaboration and cooperation between solicitors and barristers, which will provide transparency of, and access to, barristers by those businesses and individuals who require assistance. It could be that one day the two arms of the profession join.
‘ProcureCo’ has become a handy catch-all way of identifying such commercial entities. KCH Garden Square, though has moved well beyond this. We’re engaged in a range of innovative and interesting joint ventures and collaborations with clients, solicitors and other barristers’ chambers to provide advocacy of the highest standards incorporating flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
Work in partnership
Forward-thinking chambers are planning to meet the challenges and opportunities of the new legal landscape by creating commercial entities to win and manage work from a range of clients, including the Ministry of Justice, who provide public-funded and Legal Aid work.
It’s an exciting time, and we’ve taken the lead in entering into dialogue with partners and interested parties in looking at the future as a great opportunity – for us and our clients.
On Tuesday 21st June 2011, Ken Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice laid the Justice Bill before the House of Commons. This contained many new and ground-breaking changes to the way justice will be administered and managed in England & Wales.
At the same time, the Government published its response to the green paper on ‘The Reform of Legal Aid’. This document contained specific measures, exclusions from scope and fee changes designed to save about £400m by the end of March 2013. The economic condition of the country and the need to reform a disjointed and uneven legal aid regime have led to these enormous changes.
The detailed and tactical alterations to legal aid are far-reaching. However, the strategic introduction of price-based competition in criminal defence work will have more significant changes than the rate cuts etc. Best Value Tendering (BVT) and One Case One Fee (OCOF) have been expected and diligent chambers like KCH Garden Square have, for some time, had a number of plans ready to accommodate the final shape of the legal aid reforms and have been refining these as new information was released.
Whilst these plans, and the discussions KCH Garden Square have been having with solicitors, barristers and other chambers, are based on the Bar Council’s ‘ProcureCo’ initiative they have evolved far from that basic starting point.
The new consultation on tendering will lead to profession-altering changes for barristers who will need to embrace new, commercial and contractual arrangements to survive and prosper in the novel environment fast approaching. There are expectations that new, competitive tenders for criminal defence work will be let in late spring 2012 and be live in the autumn of that year. Pilot tenders, as were being prepared for the postponed 2010 BVT round, are also anticipated and, if that is the case, it could be as early as late autumn 2011 when they are being run.
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23rd May 2011
Merger of Chambers
KCH Chambers in Nottingham and Garden Square Chambers in Leicester are pleased to announce that they have now merged.
Anticipating the consequences of the Legal Services Act, the impact of the government’s spending review last October and the possible changes in the way that bids for legally-aided work might be managed are some of the reasons behind the move. The merged chambers, is called KCH Garden Square, and has over 70 barristers making it the largest set in the East Midlands.Email us