Operation of the Family Courts - Justice Committee Contents

Supplementary evidence from Legal Services Commission (FC 67)


I write further to your letter of 31 March 2011 in which you refer to measures outlined in the LSC's 2010/11 Business Plan to deliver improved financial management and control.

Part of the work programme outlined in the 2010/11 Business Plan, and referred to in your letter, focuses on recoupment of overpaid monies where appropriate and recovery of debt owed to the LSC.

I can confirm that in the course of that process we have not to the best of my knowledge approached expert witnesses for repayment of sums previously paid.

The LSC contracts with legal aid service providers (solicitors and not-for-profit agencies) to deliver specialist legal advice services to clients. Payments are made in accordance with these contracts and it follows that where overpayment of monies has been identified any recoupment should be made against the relevant contracted legal aid service provider.

The LSC does not contract directly with expert witnesses; this is devolved to legal aid

service providers. The provider is responsible for identifying and instructing an appropriate expert witness given the specific circumstances of the case. Therefore the contractual relationship exists between the provider and the expert witness, and the payment or repayment of sums between the two parties is a matter for those parties.

I do hope this clarifies the position for you.

As stated in my letter of 30 March to Sir Alan Beith MP, I would be happy to investigate specific instances if further details could be provided.

8 April 2011

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Prepared 14 July 2011