Following a meeting with the Law Society, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has extended the consultation deadline for the revised legal aid reforms by 2 weeks, to 1 November, and clarified some of the fixed fees under the modified procurement model.
The document has been updated in places for clarity and the MoJ has also amended some of the figures in Annex H (Revised Advocacy Scheme proposals) in the light of queries received from the Bar Council.
The amendments are:
- Paragraphs 3.61 and 3.65 of Chapter 3 of the document have been updated to reflect the clarifications already communicated regarding VAT and travel and subsistence disbursements.
- Annex B: The title of Table B1 has been amended to reflect accurately the contents of the table.
- Annex E: Table E2 has been updated to include the revised travel and subsistence rates for family solicitors.
- Annex G: Table G2 has been updated to show both current rates and proposed reduced rates for work within the scope of the current 2010 Standard Crime Contract following the first proposed 8.75% reduction in early 2014. The earlier version only showed the current rates.
- Annex G: A new Table G4 has been added setting out for clarity the proposed Non-Standard Fee Thresholds described at paragraphs 3.62 and 3.63 of Chapter 3 that would apply under the proposed modified model. This reflects a 17.5% reduction on the current Higher Standard Fee Limit.
- Option 1 for a revised advocacy fee scheme set out in Chapter 4 of the document proposes the harmonisation of fees for guilty and cracked trials to, in each specific case, a fee which sits between the existing cracked and guilty fees. Whilst this is clearly stated at paragraph 4.6 of Chapter 4, a small number of the proposed basic fee rates set out in the tables in Annex H were lower than the existing guilty plea basic fees (for offence types E, F and G for QC, Leading Juniors and Led Juniors). Those figures have therefore been amended in Table H1.
- There was a transcription error for some of the advocates' fees set out in Annex H. The basic fees have been amended as set out in Table H1 (some of the Junior Alone basic fees) and Table H2 (some of the Led Junior and Junior Alone basic fees) accordingly.
The updated document can be accessed on the Transforming Legal Aid consultation website.