Lawyers have expressed their anger about the Ministry of Justice’s latest disastrous initiative in the best way they know how — by setting up a hashtag.
A number of less than complimentary tweets have been published over the week using #CCMSfail, in a steadfast social media middle finger to Michael Gove and co.
All the fuss is in response to an online client and cost management system (CCMS) that the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has developed, piloted and now instated. According to the LAA, this new system “allows civil and family legal aid work to be processed online” — though more than a few lawyers would no doubt disagree with this.
CCMS is one step in the long, long road towards the modernisation of the profession, a wider trend advocated by the likes of Lord Justice Briggs. The whole point of CCMS is that it allows lawyers to, for example, complete legal aid applications online, instead of using paper forms.
The system has been plodding along for quite some months now as an option alongside more conventional, paper-heavy methods of case management, and since its inception lawyers have had very few good things to say about it. Common complaints include error messages, unexpected log outs and slow system speeds.
But the LAA didn’t give up on CCMS, and has — since last Friday — made the system compulsory.
And, unsurprisingly, it’s been a bit of an annoying week for lawyers. The tweets speak for themselves.
— Adam Tear (@adam79t) April 1, 2016
— @Banksi (@Adellebanks) April 1, 2016
— CLP (@clpsolicitors) April 5, 2016
It's after 12pm. Surely the Legal Aid Agency should have tweeted by now that compulsory CCMS use is an April Fool? #CCMSfail
— Debaleena Dasgupta (@debaleena_d) April 1, 2016
— Stuart Reynolds (@stueyuk) April 5, 2016
Legal Cheek had a chat with someone who has had first hand experience of the irritating system, family law specialist and Tyrer Roxburgh partner Kesh Badhan. Though he agreed that CCMS is “a great idea”, he told us that it:
[C]an be slow, we have problems with logging in at various times and its functionality and user friendliness has a lot to be desired.