The document below is unpublished External Facing Novations Guidance which has been promised by the Legal Aid Agency since before the 2018 Standard Civil Contract was entered into but never issued. The notes for the “2018 Standard Civil Contract Training” which was delivered to “Providers”, as well as Legal Aid Agency staff by “Service Development”, and which is still available on the Internet contains the following at page 21:
“The LAA will apply its published novation’s guidance in making decisions.”
In fact, there isn’t any “published novations guidance” which offers assistance with either of the current Standard Contracts – Crime and Civil – and this is widely known. The Legal Aid Agency, however, regards the fact that the Guidance has never been published as “official information”. This despite the fact that it is obvious from the 2018 Standard Civil Contract Training notes and the fact that the position is widely known, that the lack of Guidance cannot be “official information”. Something cannot simultaneously be “official information” and common knowledge.
As is common, the Legal Aid Agency operates to internal guidance which we have and which you can get hold of through us or an FOI request.
In the meantime, in our experience, novation requests are very difficult for the Legal Aid Agency to turn down, so get in touch if you’re having any problems and we’ll do what we can to help.
Also, any Provider who has had a novation request turned down or who has been adversely affected by an incorrect novation decision, either a refusal or an approval, and who has suffered financial loss as a consequence, should also consider taking another look at the reasons and whether the Legal Aid Agency acted consistently – with a view to making a claim for maladministration.