Fund legal aid training contracts and pupillages, MPs and peers urge government

Cross-party group name on SRA to incorporate social welfare modules in new SQE

A cross-party group of politicians and peers are calling on the government to fund legal aid training contracts and pupillages.

The Westminster Fee on Legal Aid’s inquiry into the sustainability and viability of the legal aid sector printed this week notes a “crisis” in recruitment and retention on the junior finish of the legal aid career.

It urges the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to reinstate funding for training and qualification placements inside legal aid regulation corporations, not for revenue organisations (NfPs) corresponding to regulation centres and professional bono companies, in addition to chambers which undertake publicly-funded work.

“We believe further investment should be made in the sector to allow firms, NfPs and chambers to recruit, train and retain new lawyers,” the report says.

The Fee mentioned that, previous to 2010, greater than 750 trainees had benefited from MoJ-funded grants of over £20,000 every to assist cowl their training charges and wage.

Different our bodies have stepped in to help with these prices, most notably the Legal Training Basis’s Justice First Fellowship Scheme, however “this is able to help far smaller numbers of prospective lawyers” (about 15 to twenty per yr).

“It is our recommendation that publicly funded grants should be reinstated for solicitors, barristers and legal executives to ensure an adequate pipeline of new practitioners into the sector,” the report says, whereas not specifying what number of there needs to be.

The report goes on to suggest the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) work with the legal career and training and training suppliers to make sure that the brand new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) consists of modules on social welfare regulation.

“It is vital that the sector continues to encourage bright and committed individuals to its ranks and that the profession remains as open to those from diverse backgrounds as it always has been,” it says.

The Fee’s inquiry comes weeks after shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy MP advised that Metropolis regulation corporations and their legal professionals ought to enhance efforts to offer free legal help in return for profitable government contracts.

The Fee, arrange final yr by the All-Get together Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid, was chaired by Karen Buck MP. Its members included Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Baroness Natalie Bennett, Lord Willy Bach, Lord Colin Low, Daisy Cooper MP, James Daly MP and Gareth Bacon MP.

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