Duncan Lewis sympathises with the unfortunate circumstances in which the RMJ have found themselves. However, given the statements being made comparing Refugee Migrant Justice’s position to that of Duncan Lewis last year, we feel that we should make our position clear.
Ms Caroline Slocock, Chief Executive of Refugee and Migrant Justice, stated on 17th June 2010.
“The Legal Services Commission also gave special support to Duncan Lewis when it faced insolvency, according to press reports. Were such support available now, it might be possible to take RMJ out of administration.”
We do not believe that our position was analogous to that facing RMJ. As we understand it, RMJ are seeking payment from the LSC against work that they have done but have yet to bill. In short the RMJ are seeking payment against work in progress.
Our situation was quite different to that of RMJ. Duncan Lewis faced cash flow problems as a result of delays in payment of bills already rendered to the LSC. At no stage did we seek, nor were we paid, against work in progress. The LSC paid Duncan Lewis against claims already due in respect of bills Duncan Lewis had previously submitted to the LSC.
We are in exactly the same position as RMJ and all other Controlled Work legal aid suppliers with regards the difficulties of being paid on an end of case basis – particularly in Immigration where Home Office delays can lead to files being open for well over 12 months or more.