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The Procurement of Criminal Legal Aid in England and Wales by the Legal Services Commission

“Last year the Legal Services Commission spent over £1 billion on criminal legal aid. With such a considerable sum of money involved, it is very important that the Commission understands the market from which it is buying and the cost effectiveness of its own practices, but at present, that is not the case. It needs to address this as a priority to make sure that it is paying a fair price for legal aid services that both sustains a competitive supplier base and provides value for money.”

27 Nov 2009

Administration of the Crown Court

“HM Courts Service faces a tight budgetary position and needs to get the most from its estate, staff and IT resources if Crown Court cases are to start promptly. The Service needs to improve its allocation and development of staff, so that it has enough well-trained people in each of its court locations, and tackle weaknesses in IT systems which currently bring operational risks and impair efficiency.”

6 Mar 2009

Legal aid and mediation for people involved in family breakdown

“One in three in our survey told us that they had not been made aware that mediation was an option. The Legal Services Commission needs to publicise the advantages of mediation and remove the financial disincentives to solicitors of recommending this option to their clients. Mediation can provide a less adversarial route than the courts for many families involved in family breakdown and result in savings in legal aid of over ten million pounds a year.”

2 Mar 2007

Lost in Translation? Responding to the Challenges of European Law

“European laws form a large part of Defra’s work and getting transposition wrong can be costly for government and industry and lead to environmental damage and other adverse effects. Defra has made improvements, particularly in the field of programme and project management, and can point to a number of successful cases on which to build. There is still scope for Defra to improve the overall quality and timeliness of transposition and taking steps such as increased senior level oversight of the process and giving stakeholders as much certainty as possible will help the department to achieve better and more consistent results. “

26 May 2005

Facing Justice — tackling defendants’ non-attendance at court

“If justice is to be seen to be done and the public is to have increased confidence in the criminal justice system, the criminal justice agencies must take swift action when defendants do not attend hearings and trials.

“The current initiatives to bring defendants who miss hearings back to court promptly and to improve the management of the trial process are welcome but there is still much ground to be made up. Amongst other measures, the courts need for example better information on whether defendants have firm and permanent addresses where they can, if necessary be tracked down.”

18 Nov 2004

Northern Ireland Court Service – PFI: The Laganside Courts

“This was an early PFI deal and the new courts have only been up and running for just over a year. It is apparent to us that the project is an example of imaginative and successful design of a building that is providing a vastly superior service to its users than the nineteenth century Crumlin Road Courthouse, good no doubt in its time, that preceded it. However, there are improvements to be made in how performance is managed now the courts are open for business.”

4 Jun 2003

Lord Chancellor’s Department, Crown Prosecution Service, Home Office: Criminal Justice: Working Together

“Everyone involved in criminal justice agrees that the system cannot function effectively unless all the parties involved work closely together. For this to happen there must be the right structures in place to facilitate co-operation and the right information to enable the system to be managed. Millions of pounds could be saved by reducing the number of ineffective hearings and implementing our recommendations will go a long way to achieving this.”

1 Dec 1999