Legal Aid Reform changes for Family Mediation – latest news

The effect of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) comes into effect from 1st April 2013. If you’re interested in reading specific details of the Act then you can find more information on the government website.

This special blog is designed to keep you updated of the changes and any updates issued by the Legal Services Commission (rebranded as Legal Aid Agency from the 1st April 2013), related to Family Mediation. It won’t quite be like the interactive service provided by the BBC on polling day! However when we receive any information related to form updates, useful links, etc will be posting them here. We expect things to be quite ‘fluid’ over the next week  – so why not add this page as a favourite! If you’re on Twitter, then why not follow us at @progressmediate which we will use to announce updates.

Latest Form Revisions (MoJ and LAA)

Civil Means7 version 8 (CIVMEANS7) – download

Controlled Work 5 version 3 (CW5) – download

FM1 version 04.13 – download [issued by the MoJ rather than the LAA]

LAA Monthly Reports

Revised forms have been created for the Consolidated Work report and Work Start form, however March 2013 data needs to be completed using Consolidated Version 3 August 2004, and Work Start Version 1 October 2002. The revised monthly report and form to be used from April 2013 can be found below:

Consolidated Work report – Version 4 April 2013

Work Start form – Version 2 April 2013

Eligibility Calculator

The new Civil Eligibility calculator tool for Legal Aid Agency (LAA) providers is available on the Gov.uk website. The calculator for public use can be accessed using the new online LAA calculator.

Important update 4/4/13

There are currently two issues affecting people using the LAA calculator:

  • Issue 1 : Unable to access the site using Internet Explorer.  This results from the use of Java scripting on the website. The simply solution is to enable Java scripting in the security settings of the browser. However, it may be better to do this by adding the calculator http://civil-eligibility-calculator.justice.gov.uk/ to the list of Trusted sites, then changing the security settings to enable Java scripting for the Trusted sites.
  • Issue 2: Server error you reach the final stage and attempt to print the results of the calculator on the CW1, CW2, CLSAPP6 or CLSM7 forms. When you click on one of these buttons a server error screen is displayed. For the present, we would suggest clicking on the ‘Print full calculation’ link until the issue has been fixed. 

Guidance for Eligibility

The MoJ guide for assessing your client’s eligibility can be found at the Checking civil eligibility section. The following is a direct link to the ‘Guide to Determining Financial Eligibility for Controlled Work and Family Mediation April 2013‘, released 1st April 2013, version 1. It’s quite a tricky document to find unless you know what you’re looking for…

The MoJ have also released Keycard 49 as a quick reference point for assessing financial eligibility.

Legal aid reform implementation FAQs

The LAR Implementation FAQ can be downloaed from the MoJ website here. This was last updated on the 19th April 2013.

 

Progress Mediation is a web-based tool specifically designed for managing the administration of family mediation. It supports both private and legal aid cases.

Familylawtweetup – huge success

Last week saw the 1st ever family law tweetup in London. Held at No.1 Alfred Place, the event provided fellow tweeters a chance to finally meet up and talk face to face.

Clearly the mix of professions present was dominated by family lawyers and barristers, however also present were IFA’s, and several other professions, each with their own angle on family law. I managed to meet up with a number of people who I’d connected with on Twitter which was invaluable. Gaining insights into the politics, hearing about the ‘makers and shakers’ of the family law world was an eye opener. Some Twitter avatars are clearly out of date judging from the different hair styles and a few new wrinkles! Having attended many business networking events over the years, I was expecting to travel home with a pocket full of business cards. In fact I don’t think there were many business cards passed that night, rather Twitter handles to follow up the next morning 🙂  

You may wonder why a technology company would want to be present at such event – simple. Whilst developing our software tools, we’ve become true believers in family mediation. The #familylawtweetup was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with lawyers and mediators to discuss issues and the reality of technology in the context of family law. We managed to spread the word on our growing free database of family mediation services findmediation.co.uk. And to cap it all, the chance to met some really lovely people who are passionate about what they do.

What was just as interesting as meeting up with Tweeters, was hearing how Twitter has affected the working and social life of us all. There were stories of how new opportunities have arisen in business purely out of relationships built on social media.

Huge thanks has to go to Joanne Major of Major Family Law, Geraldine Morris of Lexis Nexis and those behind the scenes for organising the event. Despite a 3 1/2 hour journey down South, a train and tube ride into the capital, the Tweetup was definitely a wonderful opportunity to meet old/new Tweeters. Future familylawtweetup’s will definitely be a must.