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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response

Date:6 APR 2020
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The government has provided advice for legal aid providers setting out what the Legal Aid Agency is putting in place to help them continue to provide service for their clients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It says: "During this outbreak our focus is to maintain levels of service whilst identifying new ways of working and flexibilities we can make to our processes to make it as easy as possible for legal aid firms to continue to provide advice to their clients. Our plans take into account the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your ability to operate according to the contract, as well as prioritising the protection of your staff health and well-being. We will keep the position under regular review, including any changes in wider Government advice and operations and in response to queries from providers. Where needed we will issue updated information and answers to queries."

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It continues: " We have robust business continuity plans covering all aspects of our work, including client applications and claims for payment (including payments not made under contract, for example direct payments to advocates).

These established plans have now been put in place to enable continuity of operations. We are identifying further options to reduce administrative and audit burdens on providers to help you focus on your clients and staff and will communicate these through updates to this document. We will continue to work closely with other parts of government connected to the provision of legal aid, including HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the police, prisons, and immigration removal centres, to ensure our contingency arrangements are aligned."

The full document can be read here.