Sir Christopher Bellamy’s Legal Aid proposals (Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review) stated clearly that an immediate increase to Criminal Defence Fees of 15% was necessary to stabilise Criminal Defence firms and prevent a collapse of the system. The Government response, out for consultation, suggests a 9% increase.
This after years without any increase in fees and an 8.75% decrease in about 2014.
The Government suggestion is out for Consultation. It is not a done deal. There are a total of 106 consultation questions. The response must be submitted by 7th June 2022.
You don’t have to answer every question.
It is vital that as many Defence Solicitors as possible respond to this Consultation making it plain that 9% just isn’t enough and that the immediate cash injection must result in a 15% increase in fees for Defence Solicitors, as made clear by Sir Christopher. Structural reform of LGFS can wait but the immediate 15% must happen without delay.
You can respond either:
2. By completing the form Response to Government Review of Legal Aid consultation questions and submitting it to CriminalLegalAidConsult@justice.gov.uk
3. Consultees can also respond by sending a word or PDF document to CriminalLegalAidConsult@justice.gov.uk It is helpful to make clear which questions are being responded to.
It is vital that the Government understands that you care about this and that they are held to account and that the recommendations of their own appointed reviewer are followed.