LCD boost to CAB advice

A three-year-old project to advise litigants in person at the High Court through a Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) is set to expand, after being praised by a report from the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD).

An LCD report published last week found that most of the 1,000 clients using the office each year were “completely satisfied” with its service, although two-thirds advised to settle a dispute ignored the advice they had been given.

The authors of the report recommended that the CAB publicise the project more widely, as less than a quarter of people who had used the service had been referred to it by another advice agency.

Allen & Overy partner David Mackie QC, vice-chair of the project's management committee, said the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine had offered to increase funds for the project from £84,500 to £110,500.

The CAB also refers litigants to 22 firms acting on a pro bono basis, including Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Mishcon de Reya and Russell Jones & Walker.

The Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA) has welcomed a U-turn by Lord Irvine on plans to force divorcing couples to split their property 50-50.

The decision follows the LCD research which found that it would create a bonanza for lawyers and “greatly add to costs and litigation”.

SFLA chair Rosemary Carter said: “A formulaic approach is inappropriate because it takes no account of the details of the individual case.”