JUDGE JOHN DEED - MARTIN SHAW
He looks like a good Judge of things
his ever popular and critically acclaimed role of John
Deed, the judge who is not afraid to question the establishment, in
a new series broadcast in January and February 2006.
takes every opportunity to try to convince Jo that Marc isn't the one
for her and he pleads with her to take him back.
The Guardian Wednesday June 16, 2004
More than 120 solicitors firms have been overcharging millions of pounds from the legal aid budget for handling asylum cases, the Guardian has learned.
The scale of the abuse is so serious that the government will this week announce plans for a pilot of its own public immigration and asylum legal service.
The move follows investigations by the Legal Services Commission that led to £8m of legal aid being recouped from law firms allegedly involved in overclaiming.
The Guardian has obtained the names of 10 of the worst offending legal firms which have had their contracts for acting in asylum cases terminated by the commission, which is responsible for legal aid, as a result of abuses ranging from repeated overclaiming to putting clients at risk through bad advice.
Two of the most serious offenders for putting clients at risk, according to the commission, were Jonathan & Co, in Islington, and Purcell Brown, in Haringey, both in north London. They were both criticised for "extremely poor handling of cases, poor quality of advice and putting clients at risk".
Last year a high court judge criticised Jonathan & Co for "milking" the legal aid fund to fight "hopeless cases" on behalf of asylum seekers.
Both firms have now gone out of business. Jonathan & Co was closed down by the Law Society, while a new law firm has taken over the premises of Purcell Brown. A spokesman for the new firm yesterday said the previous owner had "disappeared".
Another firm, MK Sri and Co, based in Harrow, north-west London, is alleged by the LSC to have overclaimed to the tune of £447,000. The commission said it had recouped the money from the firm and terminated its contract. It added: "Termination may not mean that the immigration firm has abused its powers."
Kanapathipillai Sritharan, who runs the firm, yesterday disputed the amount, and said the firm's contract for legal aid in asylum and immigration cases had not been terminated by the LSC. "We were compelled to pull out of the contract because of the way we were treated and this happened to a lot of other solicitors as well," he said.
The new public immigration and asylum service pilot scheme will be based in Birmingham and open for business this autumn. It is being created to give the LSC a direct idea of the real cost of immigration and asylum legal aid, as well as to identify inefficiencies and pressures, and best practice.
In the last financial year, immigration and asylum expenditure spiralled to £204m, partly because of the Home Office's policy of speeding up initial decision making and appeals on immigration cases to clear the backlog.
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