Legal Aid Agency
Proposals to change how payments are calculated for Crown Court work are set out in a 6-week consultation called Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme and Court Appointees.
The consultation opened on 10 February and closes on 24 March 2017. It proposes changing the basis on which LGFS payments are calculated and capping payments to court appointees at legal aid rates.
Second fee cut
The government has said that it is minded not to reinstate the second (8.75%) fee cut for defence litigators that was suspended in April 2016 for a period of 12 months.
This is subject to the outcome of the consultations on proposals for LGFS and Court Appointees.
Partnership working on LGFS
The government wants to work with the Law Society and other representative bodies to reform LGFS so that it better measures the relative complexity of cases.
The idea is to reduce or remove reliance on counting Pages of Prosecution Evidence (PPE). In the short term, the government would also like to act quickly to lower the upper limit for counting PPE.
PPE is no longer seen as the most effective way of assessing how much work a litigator needs to do on individual cases.
Payments to court appointees
The consultation also seeks views on capping payments to court appointees at legal aid rates.
Court appointees are paid at rates that are significantly higher than legal aid rates. This is for carrying out work that is very similar to criminal legal aid work.
The government view is that these higher rates cannot be justified.