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The Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC) has expressed grave concerns over the impact of Lord Carter's review of legal aid on the ability of vulnerable children to obtain the specialist legal representation they require. The Law Society is conducting a survey on the impact of the proposed pay structures on family and children legal aid work and is calling for practitioners' help in understanding how the changes are likely to impact on their work. According to the Department for Constitutional Affairs and Legal Services Commission the proposed fees have been calculated on a cost neutral basis. The Law Society will be testing this claim with its own detailed financial analysis of historical case data. Pending the outcome of the study the Law Society is asking practitioners to complete a brief questionnaire which can be found at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/survey.law?poll=carter_legalaid!family. The Legal Aid Practitioners' Group has launched a discussion forum on the impact on the reforms, including family law, at http://www.lapg.co.uk/Discussion.cfm. See also the article by Christina Blacklaws and Sally Dowding 'The Representation of Children: from Aspiration to Extinction?' in September  Fam Law.
The consultation paper, Legal Aid: a sustainable future is available from the DCA website at: http://www.dca.gov.uk/consult/confr.htm. Lord Carter's Final Report of the Independent Review into Legal Aid Procurement is available at: http://www.legalaidprocurementreview.gov.uk/publications.htm.
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