Legal Aid modernisation promises to deliver faster process
The Legal Services Agency (LSA) is in the finals stages of preparation for the launch of its new digital case management system LAMS on 1 July 2019.
Currently, the system relies on a combination of hard copy paper records and the LSA’s own centralised database. The Department of Justice says LAMS will improve processing times, reduce the form-filling that is currently required and improve data accuracy. As of 5 June 2019, the LSA will no longer accept paper applications and requests will be prepared for migration to the new system.
This represents a significant leap forward in the modernisation of the provision of legal aid services, and comes a few days after Lord Falconer expressed his regret at the steps taken to curtail legal aid during his time as Lord Chancellor from 2003 to 2007, and admitted that legal aid solicitors had “been vilified by the political establishment for too long”. He admitted that the attempts to curb legal aid spending had hurt those people who urgently needed legal advice but could not afford it.
The availability of legal aid is still the main issue to be addressed but the Legal Service Agency’s dedication to modernising legal aid and making it easier to access is an admirable step forward.
If you require legal advice from a solicitor in Northern Ireland, and are uncertain as to whether you are eligible to receive legal aid, contact us at our Belfast our Bangor office by clicking here.