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Covid 19 – update 19 March 2020

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We are continuing to operate, using remote working where possible. All of the team are picking up emails and we are continuing to represent our clients and provide the usual excellent standard of service as far as we are able to do so.

Phone calls will be collected by our message taking service and messages will be emailed to the relevant member of our team for action.

We are constantly reviewing the latest advice from Government and Public Health England and will be taking further appropriate measures. The health and safety of our staff, visitors and clients is our priority over the coming weeks.

In accordance with guidance, save where absolutely essential, we will not be carrying out face to face visits to vulnerable clients and most if not all hearings will be by phone or videolink where facilities are available.

We will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation and should our plans change, we will continue to provide updates on our website homepage.

Please email your usual contact if you have any questions or need to let us know how best to remain in contact with us.

Above all, please take care and look after yourselves and others in these times of turmoil.

Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon)
Sole Director
Mackintosh Law


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Left-behind communities unable to challenge poor care

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More than 37 million people in England and Wales live in a local authority area without a single community care legal aid service, including over 7.5 million people aged 65 and over, the Law Society said as it published analysis revealing catastrophic legal aid deserts for community care across the country.

A new interactive map shows the vanishing number of providers in each local authority area. 79% of local authorities now have no publicly funded legal advice for vulnerable people to challenge local authority community care arrangements.

The situation is even worse than the map suggests because many of these community care legal aid lawyers provide advice in a subset of cases known as Court of Protection work, in which the client may be deprived of their liberty because they can no longer make decisions for themselves.

“A cared-for person fighting to get vital welfare services or remain in their own home will tell you legal aid is a lifeline,” Law Society president Simon Davis said.
“But almost two thirds of us live in a local authority area without a single community care legal aid service, so all too often the most vulnerable people – who may be elderly, housebound, disabled – cannot get the expert legal advice they desperately need when their care arrangements fall short.

“Anyone trying to resolve a care issue is likely to need face-to-face professional advice urgently and be unable to travel long distances to get that tailored advice.”
Catastrophically low rates of pay for exceptionally complex, sophisticated work are forcing legal professionals across the country to withdraw from legal aid as the work is simply not economically viable.

The fees government pays for civil legal aid provision have not increased since 1994, equating to a 49% real-terms reduction. On top of this, fees were cut by a further 10% in 2011.
“Inadequate community care could leave a disabled person without the support they need to dress or prepare food; an elderly person might not be able to access their community or challenge the closure of a care home,” Simon Davis said.

“The combined knock-on of shrinking local authority budgets and an advice sector decimated by legal aid cuts mean the demand for advice in community care law far outstrips supply.
“Our members tell us all too often they are having to make the heart-breaking decision to turn away people because they simply do not have the capacity to take cases on.
“Fewer and fewer solicitors are choosing to go into this area of work that requires in-depth knowledge of the welfare sector, sophisticated understanding of the law and highly developed interpersonal skills.

“If the government does not wake up to the impending catastrophe I fear this specialism could disappear altogether, leaving society greatly diminished and disempowered.

“The government must make urgent changes so everyone who has a right to state-funded legal advice can get the advice they need when they so desperately need it. Legal rights are meaningless if people cannot enforce them.”

http://lawsociety.org.uk/legal-aid-deserts-map


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20/30 vision

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On 1 July Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) celebrated 30 years of casework and 20 years of running a legal aid practice.

A celebratory event was held at Southwark Cathedral to recognise the anniversary and highlight the legal issues faced by people who lack mental capacity, the barriers they often face and the vital role which legal aid funding plays.

An event booklet was prepared which provided examples of our work and it also featured a section on Pamela Coughlan. Her case was decided by the Court of Appeal in 1999 and focused on the right to NHS services for the most ill people in society. It also consolidated the principles in relation to promises made by public bodies and the circumstances in which they must be kept. Since the judgment many hundreds of thousands of people have accessed NHS services to which they are legally entitled.

Pam emailed Nicola yesterday to say:

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ANNIVERSARIES NICOLA!
What wonderful work, so many you have helped ,brought Justice for.
You amazing woman! An angel of hope and light in a formidable word .
much love
bless you
Pam

We would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the success of the event and those that gave speeches in recognition of Nicola’s work.

 

 


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First 100 years

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Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) took place in a special walk ahead of the #LondonLegalWalk to celebrate the #first100years of women in law with some other legal legends. The walk was co-organised by @First100years who are leading a National campaign leading the 2019 centenary celebrations of #WomenInLaw following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919.

First 100 years twitter link

https://first100years.org.uk/

 


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And I would walk 10,000 more.

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We walked the walk again and would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported and sponsored us for this very worthy cause.


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12 June 2019

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Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) is referenced in the recent Metro article regarding the need to ensure that all possible steps are taken to ensure that P can communicate his/her wishes and feelings and has a voice in proceedings which directly affect them.

Metro newspaper 11 June 2019


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I would walk 10,000 metres…

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On June 17th 2019 a Mackintosh Law team will again be taking part in the London Legal Walk. This is a 10k charity walk through London to raise money for free legal advice charities.

You can read more about the London Legal support trust here – LLST

If you are able to make a small donation to help us to help others you can sponsor us here: Team MackLaw


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Mackintosh Law Limited

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On 1 February 2019 we will be incorporating.

Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) will be the Sole Director of Mackintosh Law Limited. The company is registered in England and Wales at Companies House, registration number 11067651.

The company will trade as ‘Mackintosh Law’. Mackintosh Law Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the SRA number is 655500.

Mackintosh Law Limited will continue to provide legal services from the existing premises at 103 Borough High Street, London SE1 1NL.


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10 December 2018 – Legal aid advice network ‘decimated by funding cuts’

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Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) is featured in today’s BBC article on the deserts of legal aid provision.

Nicola is quoted as saying “Pre-LASPO, we had a network of advice centres, CABs, law centres and specialist high-street practices. It was not perfect, but it was pretty good. Now we have a complete decimation of the advice and representation network. Everybody recognises disabled people have rights but if you do not provide the advice and representation to them, those rights are theoretical in practice.”

The full article can be found here

 


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27 November 2018 – Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) – Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple Inn

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We are delighted that the Middle Temple Inn has called Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) as an Honorary Bencher. Nicola is the first female QC (Hon) to be called and it is a great privilege.

She was called at a ceremony on 27 November 2018 at Middle Temple Hall. In her speech Nicola restated her commitment to the rule of law and its application to vulnerable and disabled people in particular, including the vital importance of civil legal aid.

She will work with the Inn in the coming years to inspire students and others to continue to press for a just and inclusive legal system which affords equal access to the law for all.


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