Transforming Legal Aid and Gresham’s Law

More on the consultation paper “Transforming Legal Aid”. Along with it the government was obliged to publish an impact assessment.

At the heart of a truly feeble defence of price tendering for criminal defence work the following concession is made:
Client choice may in certain circumstances (where quality is easy to measure and clients have good information about the relative ffectiveness of different providers) give an incentive to provide a legal aid service of a level of quality above the acceptable level specified by the LAA, as firms effectively compete on quality rather than price. The removal of choice may reduce the extent to which firms offer services above acceptable levels”

This is misleading tosh. See my earlier post “Buggins Turn” on whether the LAA approved “threshold competence” level is acceptable.

But it gets worse.  You may not even get a threshold competent service. Take away the power of consumer choice and there is no reliable mechanism for ensuring acceptable levels of quality. Most LSC peer review outcomes were fair, but there were some real bad apples in the top grade. Some should have won a fiction prize for their doctored files. Go figure which of these will win in a price tender!

The genuine threshold competent lawyers will be driven out by the fake ones who doctored their files.  Its also known as Gresham’s law.