Why is the solicitor now responsible for adding both junior and senior counsel to each case on the case management system?
Solicitors have always been responsible for engaging counsel and notifying them of the legal aid case reference number.
In LAMS, in order for counsel to be able to submit bills for payment, the solicitor must assign them to the case.
How are transfers of certificates dealt with where a new solicitor comes on record? Is it necessary to know the existing certificate number?
The new supplier will apply to LSANI to have a certificate transferred. The existing legal aid reference is a mandatory field and will be required to enable the new supplier to make the transfer request.
If the applicant cannot provide this, they can contact the previous supplier or LSANI for assistance in getting the number.
Are there any particular issues likely to arise from the instruction of a solicitor advocate from within ones own firm?
LAMS does not bring any particular issue with regard to the instruction of solicitor advocate. The solicitor advocate should maintain the case records and submit any requests in the normal way.
Why does a solicitor have to add a barrister to the case? Is this information not already collected in ICOS?
This information is not available in the ICOS file provided by NICTS to LSA. The relationship is between the solicitor and barrister, LSA have no way of knowing which barrister has been instructed to act on a case.
In addition, the ICOS files passed to LSA relate only to criminal cases.
Can a barrister make a claim for a colleague who has stood in for him/her?
Where another barrister has stood in for the instructed barrister, they should be attached to the case and submit their own request.
Can more than one barrister be added to a case?
A number of barristers can be attached to a case. This will allow barristers to submit individual claims for the work carried out on the case.
In a case with multiple assisted persons (e.g. a Children Order case), does the solicitor need to attach counsel to every assisted person?
The barrister should be attached to the 'lead case' only (e.g. to the oldest child). Counsel should then make a payment request only in respect of that child. The solicitor should then submit a report on case on all certificates, with the full bill against the lead case and use the 'claimed under other certificate' expense type against the others.
'Claimed under other certificate' is a disbursement type expense set at a rate of £0.00. In the notes box for this fee line, enter the Case ID where the full expenses have been claimed.
Do solicitor advocates need to be attached to cases in the same way as counsel?
If a solicitor firm engages one of its own solicitors to provide advocacy services (under cover of certificate for counsel) it can either include the solicitor advocate’s fee as part of its report on case (and thus receive a single payment), or the solicitor advocate can submit an additional fee request (and thus receive a separate payment).
If a solicitor firm engages a solicitor from another firm to provide advocacy services, the solicitor advocate should provide a fee note to the instructing solicitor to claim the fee on their behalf.
In cases for which counsel has not been certified but counsel stands in for the solicitor, how does the solicitor claim travel on behalf of counsel?
This can be claimed under the ‘uncertified counsel travel’ expense code which is included in the lists of civil and criminal expenses. Travel under this code is paid to the solicitor at the appropriate rate of £12 per hour for onward payment to counsel by the solicitor.
Are barristers paid directly?
LAMS will pay barristers directly in all case types providing; a barrister is certified on the case, the instructed barrister has a digital account and that they are attached to the case by the instructing solicitor business.
Once the barrister has been engaged and the solicitor has added them to the case, can the barrister add any other barristers that stand in for them? Or does the solicitor have to do it?
The solicitor has to do it.