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Reforms to the Advocates Graduated Fees Scheme consultation - Law Society response

2 March 2017

The Law Society has responded to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation on reforming the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS).

The response expresses our concerns that the proposals risk damaging the sustainability of the supplier base and do not promote compliance with ongoing initiatives such as Better Case Management.

We are concerned that the MoJ has based these proposals on a flawed notion of 'case mix' which in reality does not exist. The response quotes extensively from responses published by a number of chambers and solicitors' firms, which cast doubt on the MoJ's assertion that the scheme is cost neutral, and which on the contrary clearly show that many chambers and solicitors' firms will be much worse off. The junior bar and solicitor advocates will in particular be hardest hit by the proposals.

We initially engaged with the MoJ's working group on the GFS schemes, as we believe that reform of the crown court fee schemes is long overdue. However, we have concerns this scheme could cause serious damage to the current and future supplier base.

Our response includes our own proposals for amendments to the distribution of the fees in the proposed scheme which we think will make the scheme workable.

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