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Bloomsburry Family law

Legal services

Intelligence at home

TECHNOLOGY THAT can track old people’s movements and monitor their health at home, via sensors and global positioning satellite trackers, is being pioneered by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The Mental Capacity Act: Balancing rights and protections

This year (2007) marks a major step forwards in the law relating to issues of mental capacity, with the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) in England and Wales. Covering all aspects of mental capacity, the Act is of particular significance for those working with older people and their families or carers, when either planning ahead for the future or dealing with situations where the person no longer has capacity to make decisions.

The Mental Capacity Act: Balancing rights and protections

This year (2007) marks a major step forwards in the law relating to issues of mental capacity, with the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) in England and Wales. Covering all aspects of mental capacity, the Act is of particular significance for those working with older people and their families or carers, when either planning ahead for the future or dealing with situations where the person no longer has capacity to make decisions.

Legal Services Bill a step too far

The level of government involvement in the new regulatory body, the Legal Services Board, has been heavily criticised by a joint committee of Lords and MPs. The measures, included in the draft Legal Services Bill but not recommended by Sir David Clementi in his review of the legal market, have been held to be “potentially damaging to the independence of the legal profession.” Frustration was also vented at the short amount of time – two months – that the committee was given to compile its report, which did not allow it to “realise the full potential of the pre-legislative scrutiny process”.

Legal-aid reform likely to suit larger firms but will that suit older people?

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is currently consulting on the national ‘preferred supplier’ scheme, which will reform the way it administers the £2bn spent on legal-aid services each year, by setting higher entry standards for law firms and advice agencies wanting to do legal-aid work. The aim is higher quality advice for clients, better value for taxpayers and more constructive relationships with legal-aid service providers.

Changes to legal aid for wills

Following the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act, two further categories have been added to the eligibility criteria for legal-aid wills. Previously, if a person was over 70 or a single parent who wished to appoint a guardian for their child, a will could be made at no charge using legal aid, although these situations were rare.

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