Firms remain sceptical about green form pilot

The majority of legal aid practices responding to the Law Society's survey on the Legal Aid Board's (LAB) green form pilot still have doubts about taking part.

Of the 30 questionnaires returned last week from the 145 law firms that the LAB had chosen to participate, approximately six decided that they would definitely not go ahead with the pilot, one or two said that they certainly would participate, but most of the firms surveyed remained undecided.

Law Society policy adviser Natalie Breeze, who was analysing the survey results last week, said: “We could have done with a greater response, but from those we have so far, it is obvious that the vast majority of firms still have reservations about the pilot.”

She said that some of the firms may still be waiting to meet the LAB, which is travelling throughout the regions in an attempt to persuade practices to take part.

The Law Society recommended that firms boycott the pilots, because of the costs to solicitors of taking part.

Despite winning some concessions from the LAB in further talks following the boycott call, the Law Society Council earlier this month resolved to continue to recommend that its members boycott the green form pilot scheme.

Breeze claimed that objections from practices fell into three main areas:

the lack of a specific sum from the LAB for the cost of extra paperwork;

the lack of money for the systems at each firm necessary to monitor the contract; and

the fact that disbursements are not included in the price.

The LAB is hoping to sign contracts for the pilot with participating firms in July, and to begin the project on 1 August.