The deficiencies of the legal aid payment regime

first_img‘A breathtaking risk’ was the damning assessment of the cross-party constitutional affairs select committee of Lord Carter’s plan to scrap the hourly rate for fixed fees as a precursor to his vision of a market-driven economy in legal aid. However, it isn’t the fixed fees that appear to have done for Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ), which went into administration last week – at least according to the charity, which squarely blames its collapse on the Legal Services Commission’s practice of only paying up on the completion of cases. That is not the official line. Justice secretary Ken Clarke told MPs that the charity went under because it was ‘unable to manage its affairs’, whereas ‘every other organisation’ had coped with the transition to fixed fees. Putting aside for a moment the disputed circumstances of RMJ’s demise, there are some 10,000 asylum-seeking clients, including 900 lone children, who could be left without representation because of this failure. That is the nature of the ‘risk’, as vividly articulated by the MPs, when gaps dramatically appear in the threadbare fabric of social welfare law. Such a gap was narrowly avoided at the end of last year with the bailing out of South West London Law Centres. As we enter a new age of public sector austerity, we will increasingly see such breakdowns. When the new regime of fixed fees was introduced in 2008, a survey by the Law Centres Federation revealed that almost one in five law centres lived under the threat of closure and almost half were in serious debt. The group’s director, Julie Bishop, says that its members have since then ‘learnt to cope, but that isn’t to say that is our ideal system’. The group last year commissioned the New Economic Foundation to look at the new payment system and found that law centres had used up 70% of their reserves on average, essentially to finance cashflow. ‘What I don’t understand is why ministers are making public statements that contradict previous Ministry of Justice reports,’ says Bishop. Indeed, Clarke’s explicit and public rebuttal of RMJ’s own account of events – ‘it’s not a question of any late payments, RMJ were paid what was due’, he told MPs – jars with the MoJ’s own research contained in last June’s study of Legal Advice at Local Level. That document explicitly addressed the impact of cashflow problems on the not-for-profit sector. The fact that ministers are prepared to cut loose RMJ indicates that a line has been drawn. The fiasco also serves to illuminate the alarming deficiencies of the new regime. Fixed fees can operate to reward the speedy and efficient; in the same way that they can penalise the painstaking and the inefficient. That appears to be what is happening. Chief executive Caroline Slocock reckons RMJ’s income per client over the last two years has fallen by 46%. Her group has flagged up the LSC response to a Freedom of Information request, finding that almost one-third (29%) of (often notoriously complex) asylum cases are concluding after little work, generating twice the income that they would have generated under the hourly regime. Immigration lawyers in private practice complain about making a viable business from a £459 fixed fee, and delivering a quality service to vulnerable clients with complex cases and where English isn’t their first language. Alison Harvey, general secretary at the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, rebuts any suggestion that ‘everyone who is balancing their books is some kind of crook’. Under the Solicitors Code of Conduct, there is no penalty for cherry picking, but Harvey points out that lawyers inevitably take on more straightforward cases despite their commitment to providing a service to vulnerable but demanding clients. ‘What makes me mad is that lawyers’ time and effort would be better spent doing the complex cases to which their skills were suited,’ she says. At its worst, it is a system that incentivises dumbing down.last_img read more

Vos populi

first_imgMr Justice Geoffrey Vos, former Bar Council chairman and one of the most esteemed lawyers of his generation, was in provocative form when delivering last week’s KPMG lecture on ‘The Role of UK Judges in the Success of UK plc’. Lamenting the UK’s penchant for self-criticism, he observed: ‘We are always the first to say what is bad about our society; for example that the August riots exemplify the problems in society about which nothing is being done, rather than, as they probably would in France and Germany, that such unrest was the one-off product of a long summer and some disruptive elements’. Like Barclays’ Bob Diamond, Sir Geoffrey also appears to believe the ‘time for banker remorse’ is over. ‘We must… limit the way in which we chastise [the banks] for what they do wrong, and take more trouble to support them in what they do right,’ the judge declared. Perhaps so. Alluding to ‘global economic paranoia’, Sir Geoffrey contrasted a recent 5% one-day fall in the FTSE with the trend-bucking announcement by Deloitte of an 8.4% hike in global revenues. Another arresting comparison this. Deloitte is one of KPMG’s bitter rivals among the Big Four beancounters. It’s a bit like eulogising Wayne Rooney at a meeting of Liverpool Supporters Club.last_img read more

A shot in the dark

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

The Games are just for starters

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Run of the mill for Freja

first_imgThe entire consignment, which consisted of equipment for a wood handling unit at a Swedish pulp and paper factory, was divided into three shipments for delivery to Sweden.Freja chartered a 4,200 dwt vessel to ship the three consignments from Tallinn to Sweden, where the company coordinated the unloading operations and onward transportation to the site.The largest units handled measured 23 m long by 5.8 m wide by 4.5 m high.Freja is a member of the Project Cargo Network (PCN) in Finland.   www.freja.comwww.projectcargonetwork.comlast_img read more

Wiesbauer replaces railway bridge

first_imgThe company used a Demag CC 3800-1 lattice boom crawler crane to move the piece – which weighed over 400 tonnes – on behalf of Metzingen-based construction company Gottlob Brodbeck.Wiesbauer project leader Marco Wilhelm noted that rigging the load was complex, owing to its shape, which required the four attachment points to be set up asymmetrically.He added: “Due to the fact that we had a tight timeframe of only 100 hours to tear down the old bridge and lift the new one into place, it was absolutely crucial not to have any delays in the lift whatsoever.”Therefore, Wiesbauer carried out a trial lift to ensure its approach would work, before moving the new bridge element smoothly into its final position.www.demagcranes.comlast_img read more

Trafigura agrees sale of a fleet of Suezmax Tankers to Frontline

first_imgTrafigura Marine Logistics (“TML”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trafigura Pte Ltd (“Trafigura”), on Friday announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell ten Suezmax tankers built in 2019 to Frontline Ltd. (“Frontline”) (NYSE and OSE:FRO), through the sale of a TML special purpose vehicle which holds the vessels (the “Transaction”). Closing of the Transaction is targeted as soon as practically possible, with November 15, 2019 being the earliest and March 15, 2020 being the latest expected date. Frontline has also agreed to charter five of the vessels back to Trafigura on three year time charters at a daily base rate of USD28,400 with a 50 percent profit share above the base rate. Author: Baibhav Mishra “This marks a continuation of an approach that has long been integral to Trafigura’s strategy, namely investing in infrastructure assets in support of commodity flows and then collaborating with a market leader like Frontline to maintain sufficient access to those assets for our trading business. Trafigura trades around 5.5 million barrels per day of oil and petroleum products around the world and has a market-leading position in strategic commodity flows, notably as a leading exporter of crude oil from the U.S. The significant increase in U.S. export volumes, an aging global fleet particularly of crude vessels and a historically low order book all support our constructive outlook for the sector. We therefore see significant upside potential in our equity in Frontline, a company with vast commercial scale and capabilities with whom we already enjoy a close working relationship.” Robert Hvide Macleod, Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Management AS commented: Frontline has two separate options to acquire two plus two additional Suezmax tankers that expire on September 12, 2019 and September 24, 2019. The second option will expire if the first option is not validly exercised. The transaction structure for the four optional vessels will be similar to that of the ten firm vessels. The number of ordinary shares to be issued if one or both of the options are exercised will be based on the volume weighted average trading price of Frontline’s ordinary shares on the NYSE over the 20 days prior to the option exercise date. All four option vessels are 2019 Chinese built and fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems. Rasmus Bach Nielsen, Global Head of Wet Freight at Trafigura, commented: Transaction Overview Following the closing of the Transaction, Trafigura will own approximately 8.48 percent of the ordinary shares of Frontline. As part of the transaction, options have also been agreed for Frontline to acquire a further four Suezmax tankers built in 2019 through the sale of a second TML special purpose vehicle. TML to sell to Frontline ten Korean 2019-built Suezmax tankers all fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems. Transaction consideration to consist of (i) 16,035,856 ordinary shares of Frontline at an agreed price of USD8.00 per share issuable upon signing and (ii) a cash amount ranging from USD538 to USD547 million, payable upon the closing of the Transaction. To obtain earlier exposure to the vessels, Frontline has agreed to time charter all the ten vessels from Trafigura until closing of the Transaction at a daily rate of approximately USD23,000. “This transaction is backed by our strong belief in tanker market fundamentals and reflects our ability to act swiftly and decisively with the support of our largest shareholder. We welcome Trafigura as a strategic shareholder and believe the transaction reflects the value they ascribe to our equity. In addition to Trafigura being a longstanding customer of Frontline, we now have a unique partnership with Trafigura that we believe will lead to further synergies going forward. The structure of the transaction creates an immediate impact to our earnings at a time when we expect freight rates to increase significantly. Moreover, we expect the transaction to boost our dividend capacity going forward.” DNB Markets has acted as mandated advisor between the parties in the transaction. Sea News, August 26last_img read more

Lake Erie Monsters Home Dominance Continues

first_imgThe Lake Erie Monsters continued their dominance at home on Friday night with a 5-1 win over their division rival; the Rockford IceHogs. The two teams split the season series four games to four, with the home team winning in each of the eight games.But the Monsters’ four wins at home against the IceHogs are part of a bigger picture, in which Lake Erie has been dominant on home ice.The Monsters are 23-7-4-1 at home this season with a points percentage of .728.That is second best in the entire AHL at home. The Albany Devils are number one, but the Monsters are the best team at home in the Western Conference. Away from Quicken Loans Arena, the Monsters are 13-14-4-1 with a points percentage of .546, and with their next five games on the road, they will have to hope this hot streak from the last two games at home carries over when they play three central division opponents, as well as the Toronto Marlies, who own the best record in the AHL.After that road trip there are only four games left in the season, three of which are at home. This next two-week stretch away from the Q could determine if the Monsters reach the playoffs or fall just short, as they are in fourth place, virtually one game back from the third-seed in the Central Divsion.It also could determine if the Monsters can get home ice advantage in the playoffs.When asked about the significance of getting home advantage in the playoffs, Head Coach Jared Bednar said, “That’s what we’re working for. We’re gonna’ fight right to the end because we love playing in this building. We’re a little bit of different group. I hate to say we’re a bunch of homers, but we’re a bit of a different group when we play here.”“We’ve said it from day one, our guys are excited to be here. They’re excited to play in front of a great fan base and if there’s any way at all that we can get home ice and fight for that we’re gonna’ try and do that.” If the Monsters can hold their ground during this five-game road trip and go 2-3 or collect five out of ten points, their playoff position should hold firm.But if the Monsters want to get home ice, they have a great chance to make up some ground and leap frog a couple teams to reach the top two in the Central. Related TopicsAHLJared BednarLake Erie Monster Matt Medley is co-editor at NEO Sports Insiders, covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and high school sports in Northeast Ohio.Follow @MedleyHoops on Twitter for live updates from games.center_img Matt Medleylast_img read more

Is Tyronn Lue a Coaching Mastermind? Or Are Hawks Overmatched?

first_imgRookie Head Coach Tyronn Lue, who took over in the middle of a chaotic season, under some bizarre circumstances, is undefeated through the first seven playoff games of his head coaching career.The Cavs haven’t just been winning, though.They’re breaking records.Lue is in an interesting position because simply sweeping the first two rounds of the playoffs, which for any other rookie head coach would be a glorious achievement, would all be for naught if the Cavs don’t win a title.The bar is set so ridiculously high for him that he can’t really appreciate the milestones as much along the way.He also may not get much credit compared to coaches on teams like Toronto and Miami, who don’t have as much talent on their roster.But even the most ardent David Blatt supporters would admit, Lue has done a nice job through these first seven games.Look back at the First Round against Detroit. Lue used strategic moves like playing Kevin Love at center to keep Andre Drummond from having as big of an impact as he might have otherwise.Lue implemented the “Hack-A-Dre” strategy until the Pistons got sick of watching their star brick one free-throw after another.He even made an adjustment in Game 2 after a close Game 1 and started LeBron James in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Pistons Head Coach Stan Van Gundy was asked what he thought about Lue’s coaching decision after Game 2, to have LeBron on the floor to start the fourth.Van Gundy did not have much praise, saying, “Oh. Play LeBron. Yeah, that’s really smart coaching… That’s a brilliant coaching move if you wanna’ call it that.”This is a theme that is going to be prevalent no matter what Lue does.It’s relatively easy to look like a great coach if someone has great players to work with.But some of the more impressive factors of this post-season have been what the role players are doing, and a significant amount of the credit for that has to be given to Coach Lue, knowing how to take advantage of mismatches.In the Detroit series, Channing Frye barely even saw the floor.Richard Jefferson made some big contributions off the bench, hitting timely three-pointers and playing anywhere from 12-23 minutes in the four games. This is a guy who at times throughout the season did not get significant playing time, but Lue counted on his veteran savvy and experience to come up big in the playoffs, and so far it has.Jefferson has continued to make nice contributions in the Second Round, putting up 20 points in the three games against Atlanta.Back to Frye, though.The mismatch that Frye creates against Atlanta is so obvious and the Hawks have literally no answer for it.Detroit had several players who could match up with Frye, like Marcus Morris, Aaron Baynes, and Stanley Johnson, so Lue opted to only play Frye in three of the four games in the First Round, and when he did play it was only a grand total of 28 minutes in three games.Lue still did not fully unleash Frye in the first two games against Atlanta, although the matchups were better suited for him.Frye only scored three total points in the three games against Detroit, but in Game 1 against Atlanta, he scored eight points off the bench in just nine minutes.In Game 2, the Cavs blew Atlanta out, so Frye played 20 minutes and scored 12 points, hitting 5-of-7 shots.Game 3 was the first time that Atlanta actually was in control for a significant amount of the action.It was the first time the Cavs really looked like they had their backs against the wall.Kyrie Irving and LeBron James were held to just 12 and 14 points respectively through three quarters, and the Cavs were down six heading into into the fourth quarter.It was Frye, who scored 16 points off the bench in the first three quarters, that even kept the game close in the first place.LeBron and Irving heated up in the fourth quarter, as each star ended up with 24 points, but Frye also had a great fourth, putting up 11 more points to reach a playoff career-high of 27 points.This is a guy who only scored 23 points in the previous six playoff games combined.Frye only scored 15 or more points four times during the 2015-2016 regular season.That is a great example of a coach unleashing a “secret weapon” of sorts.So let’s give Lue some credit. His team has not only taken care of business, but has done it in impressive fashion.The one caveat that I will put on that, however, is to look at the big picture.One year ago, the Cavs were taking on the #1 seed Atlanta Hawks, who won 60 games and had four All-Stars.The Cavs were without Kevin Love. Irving only played two games in that series and was far from 100 percent. Their bench was not as well-rounded as this year.They still swept the Hawks easily.The 2015-2016 Hawks are now without one of their better players from last year, DeMarre Carroll, they finished the regular season with 12 fewer wins than last year, and oh, by the way, Love and Irving are both healthy playing lights out.Not to mention the pieces around them are improved from a year ago.So is it really all that surprising the Cavs are making easy work of the Hawks?Were we all throwing praise on Blatt for sweeping the Hawks with a depleted roster?Some were giving Blatt credit, but the overall theme was “LeBron is carrying the load.”This April and May, the whole team is carrying the load. Lue has made some great coaching moves, but until the Cavs go up against an opponent who are anywhere close to their talent level, it seems a bit pre-mature to be labeling Lue the next Red Auerbach. The Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are still not as talented as Cleveland’s roster, but they certainly are a step above the Hawks. Their coaches have also done a fantastic job of getting the most out of their players this season.That series will be a better indicator of Lue’s coaching prowess. Then, take it one step further. All indications would point to the Western Conference Champions being either the San Antonio Spurs, who have arguably the best coach of all-time with Gregg Popovich, or the Warriors with Steve Kerr, who won the NBA Finals in his first year as a head coach and was at the helm of a 73-win season, which has never been accomplished in the history of the game.A series against either of those two teams, who have at least equal if not greater talent on their rosters than the Cavs, will be a true testament to Coach Lue’s brilliance.It would be unreasonable to expect a rookie head coach to “outsmart” Kerr, or especially Popovich, but look back at the 2015 Finals.The Cavs split the first two games in Oakland, barely losing Game 1 in OT, and it was a coaching adjustment by Kerr, going with the small lineup and inserting Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup for the first time of the entire season, that proved to be one of the biggest difference makers in the series.That move did not only impact that series, but really changed the way the league operates now. “Small-Ball” is all the rage.The Cavs even use that strategy now with Love, Frye, and LeBron on the court at the same time.When the talent level of two teams is right around equal, it’s little adjustments of that sort that can tip the scales one way or the other.I don’t want this to sound like I’m undermining Lue’s achievements.Lue has some great experience despite being a rookie coach. He learned from Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers. He won championships as a player and as a member of the Celtics coaching staff.He’s been in the heat of playoff battles and knows what his players are going through.There are plenty of positive signs going for him.Anyone rooting for the Cavs has to be happy with the job Coach Lue has done through seven playoff games, but until we see the Cavs in a “fair fight,” it’s a bit too soon to be calling him a coaching mastermind. But quite frankly, from what I’ve learned about Lue, through interacting with him at press conferences and seeing the way he carries himself, I’d be willing to bet he does not care who gets the credit at all. The end result is good enough. Matt Medley Related TopicsTyronn Luecenter_img Matt Medley is co-editor at NEO Sports Insiders, covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and high school sports in Northeast Ohio.Follow @MedleyHoops on Twitter for live updates from games.last_img read more

Kenai Teacher Shares Defining Moment on Memorial Day

first_imgFelchle: “Today is about the dear men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our great nation. Today is their defining moment. It defines them of how truly great they were and still are today.” FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享It took Kenai Middle School teacher Ken Felchle almost a decade to speak publicly about Memorial Day, but the impact of his ‘defining moment’ was felt keenly by the crowd spilling out of Kenai’s Leif Hansen Memorial Park. He paused before honoring two high school friends… Felchle: “I don’t mean to say that this time in our lives is more valuable than our marriage to our spouses or the birth of our children; it is simply the time in our lives that many of us had to overcome our greatest challenges. In other words, it defined us.” But, he insisted, Memorial Day isn’t about those who returned home.center_img SFC Retired Ken Felchle of the Alaska National Guard gave the keynote address, speaking personally about the honor of serving one’s country, saying of all his experiences, his time in the military meant the most and is missed the most dearly… Felchle: “Military service to our country over the years is something that our society has honored, and unfortunately dishonored at times during out nation’s history.” Felchle: “For the past ten years, I have been coming to this wonderful event, laying two poppy flowers on the wreaths in front of us, in honor and memory of two of my high school friends, who like myself decided to serve our country in military service. Unlike me, they are no longer with us. I have never had the opportunity to publicly state their names and would like to do that for you today. Staff Sargent Lance Koenig, who died in 2004 from a roadside bomb while on a mission in Iraq. And Staff Sargent Carlos Smith, who died in 2006 after cutting himself free from another soldier while conducting an airborne mission, so both would not suffer the same fateful death.”last_img read more