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This article, based on an analysis of legal aid data for a sample of care proceedings commenced in 2004, examines the cost of providing legal representation to mothers, fathers and children, and the variations in those costs between different areas, courts and cases. It discusses the reform of legal aid in care cases. It identifies the types of case where the fixed fees scheme, introduced in October 2007, provides more or less than the old hourly rate system and considers the likely impact on solicitors' practice of the new scheme. It also reviews whether the scheme will succeed in controlling legal aid expenditure in the face of the greater demands placed on legal representatives by the Public Law Outline. Finally, it discusses how the level of funding for legal representation in care cases might be assessed.
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