LAA announces delay to CCMS mandatory use, other than for Special Children Act applications

News Release

18 Dec 2015

After over a year of discussions with Resolution and other organisations in the sector, the Government today released a statement delaying the mandatory use of the controversial Client Cost and Management System (CCMS) for civil legal aid applications other than Special Children Act cases until April. This follows intense lobbying over the past year by Resolution, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, the Law Society and many others in the sector to draw the Legal Aid Agency's (LAA) attention to serious flaws in the system.

In a recent survey run by Resolution and other organisations that work with legal aid lawyers we found that serious problems remain in the CCMS. However, practitioners working with Special Children Act applications have reported that they find the system is easier to use than those working in other areas of civil legal aid. Resolution therefore welcomes the Government's decision to only make use of the CCMS mandatory for Special Children Act (SCA) applications on 1 February 2016.

The LAA reports that 73% of SCA cases are already processed on CCMS and these cases represent half of all civil legal aid work.

The mandatory CCMS usage date for all other types of applications has been pushed back to 1 April 2016. Resolution will continue to raise the concerns of family lawyers using the system to ensure the LAA is aware of the significant ongoing issues that affect other types of applications.

Elspeth Thomson, co-chair of Resolution's legal aid committee, comments:

"Many of our members are still reporting significant problems with CCMS, but we have heard from those working in public children law that the system has been improved for this type of application, after significant lobbying from Resolution, the Association of Lawyers for Children and many others.

We're pleased that the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has taken the sensible decision to only make public children law applications mandatory from February next year. Delaying the mandatory start date for the rest of the legal aid applications will hopefully give the LAA time to rectify the serious issues that still remain in the system. We urge any family legal aid practitioners currently using CCMS to contact us so we can continue to feed back a coordinated response from the profession to the LAA."

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