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A consultation on legal aid funding reforms was launched on 20 August 2009. It is due to run until 12 November 2009.

Legal aid consultation

 

A consultation on legal aid funding reforms was launched on 20 August 2009. It is due to run until 12 November 2009.

As Best Value Tendering will not be rolled out nationwide until 2013 at the earliest and Willy Bach, Legal Aid Minister has stated that the ‘Ministry of Justice...needs to make £1 billion of efficiency savings in the period to March 2011', additional savings (summarised below) have been proposed:

Option 2b is the preferred option as it is considered more appropriate due to the distribution of fees being heavily skewed.

It is felt that an element of duplication in funding currently occurs in such cases as preparation for considering the committal bundle can be included in the magistrates claim and also makes up part of the PPE for the case in the Crown Court. It is therefore proposed that the current category 3 rate Magistrates claims be abolished with the introduction of a global fixed fee for committals of £318. This would be claimable under the Litigator Graduated Fee Scheme. The current fee arrangements would only be claimable where a case was discharged at the committal hearing.

A further consultation paper is to be published later in the year to deal with the VHCC scheme.

The response to this consultation is due in December 2009. It will be interesting to see the results given the savings that need to be made.

 

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