September 30, 2023


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Backdating legal aid fee hike is legal – but it’s a pyrrhic victory | News

3 min read


Awarding a 15% rate uplift to present criminal lawful assist situations poses no lawful complications, the federal government has conceded next the menace of litigation.

A controversial 15% payment uplift coming into force in September will implement only to new illustration orders from October. The then justice minister James Cartlidge instructed MPs before this month that there have been ‘huge lawful questions’ about backdating the rate maximize to present operate.

With the Crown courtroom backlog hovering all over the 60,000 mark, the Felony Bar Association says its users will not see the profit of any charge improve right until late 2023 at the earliest.

Mishcon de Reya was instructed to challenge the government’s position and a letter before action was despatched to the Ministry of Justice before this thirty day period. Last night, the CBA claimed ‘legal victory’ after the government conceded there was no legal impediment to increasing costs on current illustration orders.

Responding to Mishcon’s letter, the Govt Legal Department claimed it ‘accepts the position that authorized troubles do not type a product impediment to growing fees for upcoming retained work’.

The government agreed that the advocates graduated charge plan does not make a contractual relationship in between barristers and the Authorized Help Agency. ‘Our client has hardly ever sought to recommend normally. We note that you count on the assertion of the chair of the Bar Council and not something claimed specifically by the lord chancellor or other ministers.’

Though the govt approved the lord chancellor has the electric power to increase costs for upcoming retained get the job done, ‘for the avoidance of doubt, we do not take into account that this is the scenario for do the job that has presently been carried out’.

Polices to be laid shortly introducing the price boost will not apply to foreseeable future retained work owing to the ‘significant operational concerns that this would entail and the economical means it would require’, the GLD said.

The CBA hailed the government’s reaction as an crucial victory. ‘Whether federal government is in point keen to use any fee maximize to current representation orders is, of class, a political decision. That is why the strain that you have exerted by means of our blended action continues to be so vital,’ its customers were being told.

Criminal bar chiefs also had a ‘constructive’ assembly with freshly appointed justice minister Sarah Dines MP yesterday.

‘Given the major concession on the regulation created by the MoJ, we have urged the minister to get hold of affirmation that governing administration will utilize any enhance in expenses to all present circumstances in the backlog by discovering the requisite funding with out hold off,’ the affiliation claimed.

‘The minister is also mindful that the present-day CBA action will proceed until and until eventually there is some substantial motion from government.’

The affiliation will fulfill senior civil servants from the MoJ tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Tory leadership hopeful Nadhim Zahawi, appointed chancellor last week, pledged to set additional criminals at the rear of bars, ‘including by the way paying prison barristers properly’ in an interview with BBC Breakfast.


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