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Amending the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme - Law Society response

12 October 2018

We have responded to proposals from the Ministry of Justice for a package of measures designed to put an additional £15m (including VAT) into the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme, in order to help address a crisis of recruitment in the advocacy profession.

We reiterate here the key principles that any scheme of remuneration should meet:

  • Promote the sustainability of the supplier base; i.e. ensure that there remains a pool of good quality advocates capable of providing a high standard of criminal advocacy for every class of case that comes before the Crown Court.
  • Promote the development of advocates of the future by ensuring that those who are beginning their careers as advocates are fairly remunerated for the work that they are required to undertake as junior advocates.
  • Ensure and promote compliance with the Criminal Procedure Rules and the aims and objectives of Better Case Management.

Our key concerns with the proposals are:

  • The actual value of the proposed package to the profession is highly dependent on assumptions about case types and volumes of work, which vary considerably from year to year.
  • The allocation of the additional funds is made in a way that fails to incentivise early preparation of Crown Court cases.
  • Our analysis shows that the 1% of AGFS bills submitted by QCs will attract over 13% of the new funding available.

The annex to the consultation response is an analysis by Professor Abigail Adams of the data provided by the MoJ, which provides the statistical analysis underpinning this response.

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