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Mental capacity and disability legal aid heavyweights join forces

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Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon), currently Sole Director of Mackintosh Law, the legal aid firm specialising in mental capacity and disability law, is to be joined by Zena Soormally Bolwig as Co-Director of the firm on 29 June 2020.

The Directors

Nicola said:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Zena is joining me at Mackintosh Law as Co-Director. It will be a privilege to work closely with Zena to build on the firm’s already well established reputation as one of the leading mental capacity, Court of Protection and community care specialists in the disability justice arena.

These are unprecedented times. There has never been a more important time to devote our legal skills to representing some of the most vulnerable people in society, and securing genuine access to justice for everyone. Zena’s arrival will ensure that Mackintosh Law’s proven and impressive track record for clients in this specialist field will be cemented for future years, going from strength to strength.’

Zena said:

‘I’m incredibly proud to join Nicola and the specialist team at Mackintosh Law. We both share the same passion and desire to provide exceptional service and advice in the specialist area of mental capacity and disability law and I am looking forward to bringing my experience to the team.

In light of the ongoing pandemic and the increasingly sparse availability of legal aid advice, there has never been a greater need for dedicated specialists in this area. Together, Nicola and I will continue to ensure that those who lack capacity or live with disability have access to the advice and support they need.’


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4 June 2020 We can’t walk the walk, but we are still stepping up to the challenge

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Team Macklaw are undertaking the London Legal Walk on 8 June but with a twist as people across the country undertake individual walks and instead take the 10,000 steps challenge, whilst observing social distancing measures.

This is all in order to raise money for legal advice charities. There has never been a more important time to support people in need of justice, with the cuts to legal aid and the reducing numbers of advice outlets. People desperately need help from specialists who can advise them properly.

You can access more information about the London Legal Support Trust here – http://www.londonlegalsupporttrust.org.uk/

If you are able to support us, our donations page is here:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MackintoshLaw20


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4 June 2020 Racism has no place in our society

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“George Floyd’s death has caused outrage around the world and exposed injustices and inequalities.

“We will continue to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, combat any instances of racism or prejudice in the sector and stand against injustice.

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/press-releases/racism-has-no-place-in-our-society/


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15 May 2020 – The Lord Chancellor urged to use LASPO powers to save firms

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The Legal Aid Practitioners Group has warned that without further action, many firms will fold over the next few months ‘and by Christmas there will not be a provider base left to underpin the justice system that this country needs and deserves as it tries to climb out of this crisis’.

Read the full article here:

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/buckland-should-use-laspo-powers-to-save-firms/5104299.article?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Women+lawyers%27+Covid+struggles+%7c+Burford+abandons+claim+%7c+Mother+in+law_05%2f15%2f2020


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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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