Youth courts pilot future in jeopardy

The future of the youth courts pilot hangs in the balance as criminal solicitors' demand extra cash from the Legal Aid Board (LAB).

The LAB is inviting all law firms currently taking part in the criminal law block contracting pilot to participate in its proposed youth courts pilot, and is offering a financial incentive to do so.

But, leading criminal solicitor Tony Edwards, partner at TV Edwards & Co, claims the pilot is so late in starting that the incentive is no longer “worth it”.

He says that the LAB has caved in under pressure and agreed to ask the Treasury for more money.

He adds, however, that “if the pilot had started in November, it might have been more attractive. But it's almost February now.

“The LAB is offering an extra 10 per cent uplift until 29 June and then a 5 per cent uplift for the following year, but I am personally asking for 10 per cent all the way through”.

The LAB was unavailable for comment.