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Criminal legal aid

9 September 2019

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is reviewing the current criminal legal aid fee schemes. It will deliver a final report, including any recommendations, towards the end of the summer 2020.

Our view

We’re giving input into the review in the following areas:

Sustainability

 
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We believe fees must:

  • allow firms to recruit and keep new lawyers
  • be increased and kept at an adequate level
  • reflect the 24-hour service
  • enable career progression
  • keep the criminal defence profession diverse
 

Quality

 
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We think there should be:

  • incentives for solicitors at the right level of seniority to do the work
  • enhanced fees for work in the youth courts
 

Simplicity

 
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Red tape and administration should be reduced.

Rewarding early work

 
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We believe there should be:

  • payment for consideration of disclosure of evidence early in the case
  • front loading of Crown Court fees
  • fees that better reflect the work required for guilty pleas
  • payment for looking at unused material
 

Fair pay

 
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We think there should be:

  • payment for out-of-hours work
  • payment for work that is currently unpaid
 

Future-proofing

 
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Any new fee scheme needs to adapt to changes in technology and changes in:

  • police practice
  • court and police station consolidation
  • case mix
  • political priorities
  • society
 

Waste reduction

 
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The cost of avoidable waste in the system, for example as a result of bureaucratic error or lack of preparation, should be borne by the people or agency causing the waste.

Yearly fee reviews

 
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We believe there should be:

  • reviews every year, based on data, of whether the fees are properly paying solicitors for the work they do
  • fee increases every year in line with inflation
 

What we're doing

July 2019 – the MoJ accelerates its review work plan of criminal legal aid fees in key areas we lobbied on.

March 2019 – the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) begins its review of criminal legal aid fees, which is due to report at the end of 2020.

Get involved

Give your feedback to the MoJ review  

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