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Legal Aid Agency review of contingency measures
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has reviewed its COVID-19 contingency measures for civil and criminal legal aid in line with UK and Welsh government advice and feedback from providers and stakeholders.
The updated contingency measures can be found on the following pages:
- coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response
- schedule of processes restarting after COVID-19 contingency
The LAA has provided us with the summary below.
Crime claims (CRM 18 and CRM 18A)
From 1 July, providers need to revert back to sending in a copy of their file with the claim form to allow the LAA to carry out a full assessment.
The LAA will accept CRM18 claims by email from 1 July. The file and claim form can be emailed to email@example.com
The LAA cannot accept CRM18A claims by email. These claims need to be sent to LAA’s Nottingham office by Royal Mail or DX for assessment.
The use of Galaxkey will stop on 1 July 2021 and claims submitted this way will not be accepted.
On 21 June, the contingency process ends for 100% of payments on account (POA) relating to pre-Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) final claims.
However, the LAA will keep the new digital process for submitting these claims electronically.
Similarly, from 21 June, the process used for legal help escape cases will be replaced by a new electronic process.
From 21 June, the LAA expects the standard six-month controlled work time limit to be met for making claims.
Finally, the LAA can now receive cheques for civil contribution payments if required.
Working with Exceptional and Complex Case Team (ECCT)
On 21 June, the contingency used for clinical negligence cases and counsel acceptance forms will formally become standard business practice.
For clinical negligence, the preferred method of submission will be the secure file exchange.
Provider debt collection
From 1 July, provider debt collections and proactive (in addition to routine) work to recover unrecouped payments on account (UPOAs) will restart.
Duty solicitor management
The LAA has issued guidance in advance of the deadline for CRM12s for inclusion on the October rotas.
This confirms that it expects duty solicitors included on the October duty rotas to comply with the contractual duty solicitor requirements.
Other contingencies – date changes
Following the UK government’s decision to delay step four of the roadmap to 19 July at the latest, the LAA has updated its schedule of when processes will resume.
- travel and mileage claims
- use of digital signatures
- accepting photographic and scanned evidence
- crime duty solicitor requirements
- designated accredited representatives in mental health cases
- quality mark audit arrangements
- claims for costs of video links in prisons
The LAA will publish further information about these measures before 19 July.