THE article in The Lawyer, 2 September, on the Legal Aid Board's green form pilot scheme reported that the deadline had been extended for “applications in the wake of a poor turnout for the scheme”.
In fact the Legal Aid Board concluded the application stage last year. It is now in the process of signing contracts with firms. We extended the deadline for the signing of contracts at the request of firms mainly to take account of the holiday period.
The pilot scheme was not “originally due to begin on 1 September” as the article stated. It started a few weeks ago as some solicitors signed contracts as soon as they could at the beginning of August. Remaining start dates have been agreed with individual firms.
We invited approximately 145 firms to sign contracts and so far over 90 have signed.
The LAB has been pleased by the positive response to this pilot throughout. The original intention was to involve a maximum of 50 offices, but over 840 solicitors' offices expressed interest in taking part.
The LAB had to expand the pilot to accommodate this overwhelming number. We are delighted that we now have twice as many contracted offices as we originally intended.
Press and public relations manager,
Legal Aid Board