The MoJ has responded to its consultation on proposals to cut PPE payments in crime LGFS cases. Despite 97% opposition from over 1,000 responses, it is pressing ahead with the proposal. From 1 December 2017, PPE payments will be limited to 6,000 pages, down from the current 10,000. Any extra will have to be claimed as discretionary special preparation fees.
The MoJ also confirmed that the delayed second 8.75% across the board fee cut will now not go ahead. It has yet to announce its decision on the proposal to cut fees for court appointees.
Filed under Costs, Crime, Policy
Managing 2018 Civil and Family Legal Aid Contracts
London, 1.30pm – 5.15pm, Monday 16 October, 3 hours CPD. Commercial fee: £125 + VAT; Standard Fee : £115 +VAT. Trainer: Vicky Ling
The LAA aims to start new contracts on 1 September 2018. This LAG course will cover what you need to do to submit a successful tender. It will also consider the 2018 civil and family contract, focusing on the new requirements to ensure you understand them and don’t get tripped up. We will look at topical issues in legal aid funding and the LAA’s evidence requirements to ensure that you pass LAA audits.
The course offers practical guidance and support. Legal aid expert, and editor of the LAG Legal Aid Handbook Vicky Ling, will lead a practical and interactive course that aims to empower legal aid practitioners, helping them obtain contracts for 2018 and manage the difficult times ahead in the ever changing world of civil legal aid.
Free copy of the LAG Legal Aid Handbook 2017/18 for delegates!*
The course covers:
• The timetable
• LAA fitness and quality standards
• Dealing with the questions on the Bravo tender portal
• Submitting a bid successfully
• Issues to be aware of in the 2018 contract
• Supervisor and office requirements
• The countdown to contract verification
• Issues arising from LAA audits and contract manager visits
Please note that the course will not cover the specifics of Immigration bids or price competitive bids in any detail.
Book at the LAG website
Download a booking form.
*See www.lag.org.uk for terms and conditions.
Filed under Civil, Family
Lord Bach’s Access to Justice Commission has published its final report, available here. It is a detailed and thoughtful report, which should provoke further debate about the impact on access to justice – and particularly those who can’t get it – following the reforms of recent years. There is a lengthy list of recommendations, which fall into three main categories:
- The creation of a new statutory enforceable “right to justice” and the creation of a Justice Commission
- Reform of the legal aid scheme, including widening and simplifying the means test and contributions, increasing legal aid scope to restore most family, some immigration, and cases involving children, as well as reforms to judicial review, inquest and exceptional case funding, and replacing the LAA with an independent body and simplifying administration
- Wider and better public legal education and a universal advice and information portal.
Sir Henry Brooke, the retired Court of Appeal judge, was one of the commissioners. Since the publication of the report he has posted a series of blogs, well worth reading, looking at some of the background to the Commission’s recommendations.
We’ve covered elsewhere the key LAA announcement – the timetable for the 2018 civil contracts tender – but there are a couple of other issues that’s it’s worth making sure didn’t get overlooked in the holiday season.
LAA online services – including CCMS, eforms, CWA, CCLF and the management information service – are accessed via the LAA portal. The portal is being upgraded on 11 September. It doesn’t seem that there will be a major overhaul of the look and functionality of the systems. But the LAA promises increased stability and faster log in times.
Crucially, following the upgrade all users will have to reset their passwords. In order to do that, they need to know their current passwords. So you should make sure that all users in your office know their current passwords and have checked they still work before 5 September – which is the last day for requesting a reset before the upgrade. More information here.
Meanwhile, online billing for Crown Court work (both AGFS and LGFS) will become mandatory from 31 October – more here.
Immigration practitioners looking for extra matter starts, including those that didn’t get any in the recent supplementary matter starts process, have been reminded that you can ask your contract manager for more matter starts when needed. The LAA has also issued news alerts drawing attention to the rules on claiming hourly rates and on refunding client travel in immigration cases. News articles like this can be a useful reminder of how the LAA sees the rules following feedback of difficulties, but also an indicator of potential audit activity – so are something immigration practitioners will want to take note of.