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The Contract regulates how suppliers operate Legal Aid cases in the Courts but will have little effect on clients; private clients are unaffected.
Canter, Levin & Berg have been granted an initial three year contract which is the maximum available but can be extended thereafter.
The contract allows the firm to continue to conduct all police station cases, all court cases, very high costs cases (e.g. complex fraud cases) and prison law cases.
With respect to prison law a large number of firms have had to give up this type of work because they became ineligible and the fact that we retained this part of the contract was in large part down to the efforts of our prison law supervisor, Darren Jones, and latterly his assistant, Darren Fox.
Canter, Levin & Berg remains one of the few firms entitled to carry out vary high costs cases.
In April of this year Crown Court Means Testing was introduced into this area. The system was initially introduced in pilot areas at the beginning of the year and is due to be rolled out over the whole of England and Wales throughout 2010.
Merseyside is part of the second phase the result of which is that the majority of cases that proceed to the Crown Court will mean clients having to provide details of their income and capital.
All members of the Canter Levin & Berg criminal law department have received training on the new system and can guide clients through the system.
Readers may be interested in a case that was recently decided by the European Court of Human Rights.The case stemmed from a decision of HHJ Globe QC (the highest ranking judge at Liverpool Crown Court) who refused an application for the Defendant to be present at the hearing of a prosecution appeal against the granting of bail to her (which he upheld).
The Court held that her rights had been violated and one of the appeal judges in particular was particularly scathing of the Judge Globe quoting from Kafka's novel 'The Trial' and awarding the appellant £1,000.
It goes to show that even judges are not right all of the time even though they would like to think they are!
Read the judgment in Allen v United Kingdom.
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