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Civil legal aid bills consultation launched

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on the proposed transfer from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) of the assessment of all civil legal aid bills of costs other than those involving a detailed inter partes assessment.

In July 2020 the MoJ proposed that the assessment of all Court Assessed Claims would be conducted by the LAA and legal aid providers had the option to send these claims to the LAA or HMCTS. From 17 August 2020, it was made mandatory to submit Court Assessed Claims to the LAA. Currently the position is that providers can choose whether to send their bills to the LAA or HMCTS. The MoJ says that to date this transfer has made no discernible impact on appeals where providers have disagreed with the proposed payments, and the LAA has remained well within its published target for processing claims – which is for 90 percent of complete and accurate bills to be paid within twenty working days, suggesting that the current arrangement of the LAA assessing these claims is working effectively in ensuring legal aid providers are being paid as swiftly as possible.

The MoJ is now seeking views on whether the transfer of Court Assessed Claims from HMCTS to LAA should be made on a permanent basis.
The consultation closes on 10 April 2021.

For the consultation document, click here.