LAPG mounts poll to test impact of Irvine reforms

THE Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) is to survey all its 600 member firms to gauge the impact the reduction of legal aid will have on their practices.

The LAPG executive committee decided at a meeting last week to send out a short survey asking whether practices would be able to expand or would be forced to decrease their business if the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's plans to replace legal aid with conditional fees in many areas came into force.

The vice-president of the LAPG, Richard Miller, said that the group intended to gather hard evidence to assist it in its campaign against the proposals.

Miller added that the survey would reach a “wide cross-section of firms” from sole practitioners to large firms, and that the results would be given to the Lord Chancellor's Department to “draw the Government's attention to the effect its proposals will have on law firms”.

The LAPG is now in the process of commissioning an independent survey organisation to conduct the research.

It hopes to send the surveys out before Christmas and have them returned by February. The Government is expected to introduce the changes to conditional fees and legal aid by statutory instrument next April.