Law Society Wins Delay on Tendering for Criminal Work

Article excerpt

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has deferred the introduction of new tendering rules after criticism from the Law Society.

The LSC has taken the decision to defer all criminal defence tendering, including the much-criticised best-value tendering (BVT) contracts in the pilot areas (Avon, Somerset and Manchester), by at least two months.

The Law Society had warned that bestvalue tendering for criminal legal aid contracts could not begin during the current uncertainty over criminal defence service pricing.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: "The LSC have adopted a sensible approach by accepting the Law Society's argument that as a result of the Ministry of Justice consultation, which includes proposals to change payment rates for criminal contract work, the uncertainty around prices means the tendering process cannot begin.

"They have also confirmed that the tendering process will not be shortened. The price competition element of the process will happen not less than two to three months after tendering starts. …