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LSC decides against funding community legal service grants

Funding due to end in March

Community Legal Service Grants, created in 2000 under Direction by the Lord Chancellor, enable the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to fund projects and activities that do not necessarily provide direct advice solely to eligible clients.

The LSC currently grant funds three organisations – Advice Services Alliance; Law Centres Federation and The Royal Courts of Justice CAB – through the Community Legal Service Grant Budget.  The current grant funding arrangements are due to come to an end in March 2013.

The LSC has published its response to the consultation on the future of the Community Legal Service (CLS) Grants.

The consultation, which opened on  30 July 2012 and closed on 21 September 2012, set out the LSC's  proposals to cease the CLS Grants from 1 April 2013 when the remaining three grant funding arrangements come to an end. The response to the consultation is here.

Having considered all the consultation responses, and in light of the future impacts of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on legal aid, financial pressures and the LSC's current priorities and resources, the LSC has decided to end the CLS grants programme when the current grants come to end on 31 March 2013. No further funding rounds will be commenced.

The LSC says that the intense pressures on the legal aid budget and the priorities of the Legal Aid Agency mean that it must focus on commissioning and administering a cost effective and good quality legal aid system for eligible clients.  It believes the best way of achieving this is through funding individual acts of assistance to eligible clients directly through our contracted provision.