Lord Beecham supports ILEX

12 January 2012

Lord Beecham urges amendments to LASPO bill to include ILEX

Lord Beecham in House of Lords

The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) has been discussed extensively in the House of Lords as they debated proposed amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO).

Amendments were moved by Lord Beecham to ensure that ILEX was a statutory consultee in the accreditation of legal aid services and the rates of pay of lawyers.

Lord Beecham told the House during the Bill’s 2nd Sitting in Committee that: “Consultation should take place with the Institute of Legal Executives, which is now a recognised and substantial body of contributors to the legal system”. Lord McNally, however, gave assurances on behalf of the government that ILEX and the other representatives would always be consulted otherwise the government would be susceptible to judicial review.

Lord Beecham reluctantly withdrew his amendment but said he may have to return to it at a later stage: “I do not think that is the best way to make law – that is, leaving judicial review as an option and expecting that to act as a deterrent. Surely it is much better to have the duties clearly outlined in the Bill and placed on the person who has the statutory responsibility to secure the availability of legal aid and advice.”

Responding to the comments Chief Executive of ILEX, Diane Burleigh, said: “ILEX fully agrees with Lord Beecham’s comments that using a judicial review as a deterrent is not an appropriate way to ensure the right organisations are consulted.

“However I am very pleased to hear law makers of England and Wales including ILEX so positively in their debates and suggesting that amendments are made to ensure we are included in future consultations. The fact that their comments speak of us so highly show they recognise the professionalism and skill that ILEX and legal executives bring to the legal sector.

”We maintain that ILEX has a right to be included in future consultations when access to legal services is being discussed. We will continue to campaign to ensure the voice of our members is heard.”