A recent survey suggests that nearly half (48%) of cases where a party is representing themselves in court, takes twice as long. It has also emerged that the ‘knock on’ costs to the legal aid cuts is expected to cost the taxpayer in excess of £139m, nearly half of what the cuts are expected to save. It is estimated that 595,000 members of the public will endeavour to proceed through the courts without legal aid.
Care applications have risen by 10.1 per cent since last year according to CAFCASS - an organisation committed to providing support to families involved in childcare cases. This means that family difficulties are on the increase and so cuts to the system will have a detrimental effect on family units for years to come.
Areas that will no longer be eligible for legal aid include clinical negligence, debt, employment, education, housing, immigration, welfare and family breakdown, whilst cases the government considers serious such as domestic violence and child abuse will remain covered under legal aid.
Although these problems are known to coincide as family breakdowns result in homelessness, domestic violence and other problems. But in reality things aren’t as linear; people experience a variety of issues that they cannot afford to deal with in court on their own, nor can they afford to ignore the problems.
David Atkinson, CEO for Atkinson Lewis and has worked in the field for 15 years spoke about the threat of cuts to legal aid “It seems as though the legal aid cuts will have a detrimental effect on everybody involved in the child protection system but at a time of cuts and economic decline, we should be taking the time to analyse where savings can be made, with minimum effect to the public.”
He goes on to say “Often parents and guardians are at ‘war’ with one another and it is possible that some parents will resort to taking the law in to their own hands.”
Cuts to legal aid can be made extraneous if more effort was made to reduce unnecessary costs which technology can play its part in reducing.
Furthermore, the Crown Prosecution Service is also facing 25 per cent cuts over the next four years which has lead to the introduction of tablet PC’s to the entire criminal justice system, estimated to save approximately £50m across England and Wales. Atkinson Lewis believes this could be rolled across the family courts to contribute to savings which could enable legal aid funding to continue.
The UK has long been considered as a centre for legal excellence and so it is expected to exceed the practices that are used within the legal system elsewhere. Other services like virtual courts will save time and resources for the courts, the legal system and the police which will effectively outcome in savings. ‘Live links’ enables court hearings to stream live video footage which can be used for witnesses, experts and clients without the need for transport and premise needs. Atkinson Lewis is now operating video conferencing facilities which are open for business.
Whilst most law firms are still using traditional surface mail services, many are discovering the cost and time efficiencies of working with new technology, rather than relying on traditional paper court bundles and couriers known to take several weeks. The legal sector as a whole should prioritise time efficiencies and security over everything else. Moreover, this technology considerably reduces a company’s overheads.
As a result, EDT by Atkinson Lewis is a secure file encryption software system, designed specifically for the use of professionals involved in childcare cases. It is a cost effective, efficient and an environmentally friendly alternative to surface mail services. There is no need to wait for delivery windows as information can be retrieved and sent instantaneously.
The basements of law firms are often heaving with court bundles and documents. Days are spent keeping track of this mass of information which is often incorrectly duplicated and distributed. Atkinson Lewis even has facilities in place to scan documents on behalf of clients, to make the transition to electronic documents that much easier.
To discover the benefits of Atkinson Lewis’s range of services and software, please contact us on 0330 1002 555, visit www.atkinsonlewis.co.uk or email email@example.com.
For Media Enquiries:
For interview or further information about this topic, please contact Miss. Kathryn Powell, PR Officer for Atkinson Lewis Ltd.
Telephone: 01792 578623 ext 148
Address: Atkinson Lewis Ltd., 1st Floor, Unit 1, Ystrad Road, Swansea, SA5 4HJ
Notes to Editors:
EDT offers three levels of access:
• Basic Users can view and download any documents assigned to them for free.
• Advanced Users can also upload documents and assign them to existing users for just £30 per month.
• Managers can appoint new users, create groups, start new projects, monitor users and perform other tasks, including retrieval from the archives for £120 per month.
Atkinson Lewis is an organisation that specialises in case management services and software. We’re a team of specialists, pooled from all the medical and scientific fields that play a role in childcare cases.
Our clinical experts have spent over 15 years helping to establish patterns of substance abuse among parents and potential carers. And all the while, our admin team has been supporting casework, managing the needs of Courts, Local Authorities, Solicitors and Social Services.
Our complete service includes psychiatric and psychological reports, collection and testing of hair and blood samples, interpretation of lab results and more. We’ll even provide an expert witness to support your case in Court.
EDT is a brand new Electronic Document Transfer system by Atkinson Lewis. With EDT, every file from your client’s case is scanned, encrypted and uploaded to a secure server - then you (only you) control distribution. Confidentiality assured. Whether you’re sharing legal documents, lab results, Expert Witness reports or entire Court Bundles, it’s a smart, efficient solution that will transform the way you work.
It will help you in all kinds of ways:
• Security – Keep tighter controls, with no risk that documents will fall into the wrong hands.
• Efficiency – Access current case notes instantly and choose a service level for retrieving archived documents...it’
• Cost control – Electronic storage will cost you a fraction of your physical storage costs.
• Space sharing – A chance to make better use of valuable storage space.
• Eco-friendly – A more responsible way of working – which could be important for future contracts with your Local Authority.
# # #
We're a full support service for Solicitors, Barristers and Social Workers involved in childcare cases that feature drug or alcohol abuse.