What the LAA did on your holidays

Into September, and the holiday period is over. But the LAA weren’t idle during August; there were a number of important updates and announcements put on their website:

  • Crime contracts were extended to September 2014, and new schedules sent out
  • An updated checklist was released for AF1s, as were reminders of how to avoid rejections of crime VHCCimmigration and family claims, and for civil certificate applications – note the hint about the reversal of the wording of the question on suitability for CFAs
  • Travel payments for crime advocates were amended
  • A worrying note was published on the consequences for providers if clients fraudulently obtain legal aid for which they are not financially eligible. The note does not give enough detail about the facts of the particular case, but providers will need to be careful to make sure that they are satisfied clients are in fact eligible. The contract says that if you “know or suspect” that a client has failed to provide information, or has made a false or misleading statement, relevant to a determination as to whether they are entitled to legal aid, you should report that to the LAA. The publication of this note suggests that the LAA will be taking a strong line on this from now on.
  • The LAA launched a new complaints process
  • The LAA drew attention to the contracts reconciliation guidance (link on our LASPO Resources page) and drew attention to the option to switch from standard to variable payments
  • The new Legal Aid Manual was published (it is a requirement that every organisation have a copy, though almost all of the content is freely available and linked to on our LASPO Resources page)
  • A useful rates calculator for civil certificate claims was made available, as was the LAA’s internal guidance for caseworkers dealing with civil cases
  • The Special Cases Unit and Complex Crime Unit were re-named

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