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Legal Aid Agency to assess bills

Transfer date to be agreed with HM Courts and Tribunals Service

The Legal Aid Agency has announced that assessments of court assessed bills are being brought in-house. A transfer date is being agreed with HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

The change means that civil court assessed claims will be handled by the LAA's civil finance team instead of the courts. The LAA says that the changes should help ease legal aid providers' cash flow. In recent weeks many providers have gone without payment for cases because of court closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing this work in-house will remove the need for claims to go before the courts. This will mean faster payments in both the long and short-term for your work.

The LAA is consulting on amendments being made to the Cost Assessment Guidance (CAG) to reflect this change in process. Operational guidance for firms wishing to submit claims ahead of the consultation closing has been published to support this change.

The LAA says that it is already set up to receive these claims. Practitioners may start sending claims to the LAA now, should they wish. It will be mandatory to use the LAA after the transfer date. The LAA will confirm when this has been agreed.

5/6/20