The Government has today published a consultation paper, Court bundles: proposed changes to the legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme.
The proposals set out the Government's suggestions to revise the current legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme in light of the forthcoming restrictions to the size of bundles.
Currently there is no particular limit on the size of a court bundle. Under the legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme, different payments are made to advocates for interim and final hearings according to the number of pages in the court bundle. More complex cases often involve larger bundles and therefore attract larger bundle payments.
The proposed introduction of a maximum court bundle size of 350 pages, which is expected to be applicable in the majority of cases, will effectively prevent advocates from claiming the current court bundle bolt-on fees and therefore potentially reducing the level of remuneration that advocates might otherwise have received for a case. While this might be justified if the amount of work required was also to reduce this is unlikely to be the case. The Government has therefore been considering how best to ensure that appropriate remuneration continues to be made to advocates, particularly in complex cases.
Further information and an online survey are available here.