The LSA has issued the key messages for legal aid suppliers for May 2021.
LAMS reregistration – correction
At paragraph 3.1 and 5.1 of LSA circular 05/21, we advised that should your individual and/or business account expire you would not be able to submit new application requests but would be able to continue working on existing cases. This is not correct, once your account/s have expired you will only be able to manage your individual or business account or renew your account/s in LAMS and you will not be able to access any case information until your account/s have been renewed. To ensure that there is no impact to your ability to progress cases in LAMS it vitally important that you renew your account/s before 30 June 2021.
LSA circular 05/21 has now been corrected.
LAMS reregistration – upload of practising certificates
Suppliers are reminded that they must upload a copy of their current practising certificate when renewing their individual LAMS account. Failure to upload a copy of your certificate when submitting your request will cause delay in your request being processed.
LAMS reregistration reminder
You are reminded that reregistration of all suppliers will take place between 1 and 30 June 2021. You will be required to review the details held in your individual account and confirm or update your details, including your contact details and to upload a copy of your most recent practising certificate.
If you are an account administrator of a business you will also be required to reregister your business. You will need to review your business contact details, including all offices associated with your business, review who is attached to your business and your business bank account details and if appropriate self-billing arrangements. You will need to sign and upload a new self-billing agreement during this process. However, if there is a need to amend any of these details this cannot be via the registration process. You will need to firstly reregister your business and then use the “Modify Account” link and follow the normal process.
For further information on attaching/detaching employees or solicitors from your business account, refer to Section 5.4 and 5.5 of the LAMS supplier manual or watch the instructional video. For information on how to modify your individual supplier account or business account, refer to Section 6 of the LAMS supplier manual.
The reregistration window will remain open until 30 June 2021. After this date, if you have not reregistered, your individual or your business account will expire on 1 July 2021. This means you will not be able to access any case information. We would encourage you to complete the reregistration process as early as possible.
If you miss the deadline you can still reregister as the reregistration button will continue to be displayed but you will not be able to access any case information until the reregistration application has been checked, verified and approved.
Account NI database upgrade – June 2021
Due to essential database upgrades, Account NI will be unavailable between Saturday 12 June 2021 and Wednesday 16 June 2021. This will have an impact on the processing of payments by Account NI to your business bank accounts. The following table shows the impact on payment processing dates.
|LAMS payment request assessment dates||Account NI payment processing dates||Payments into business bank accounts|
|Thursday 10 June 2021||Friday 11 June 2021||Wednesday 16 June 2021|
|Friday 11 June 2021||Thursday 17 June 2021||Tuesday 22 June 2021|
|Saturday 12 June 2021 to Wednesday 16 June 2021||Thursday 17 June 2021||Tuesday 22 June 2021|
There will be no disruption to LAMS functionality during this time and payment requests on LAMS will continue to be processed as normal.
Transfer of legal aid certificates
When applying to transfer a legal aid certificate, practitioners are reminded of the following:
- If you do not have the legal aid reference number of the certificate you wish to transfer you should contact the Agency by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, you will need to provide your client’s full name, date of birth, national insurance number, signed form of authority, name of the outgoing solicitor and their firm and the type of proceedings the certificate relates to. The form of authority is not required in a case where the Guardian Ad Litem or the official solicitor has been instructed on behalf of the child or assisted person.
- In circumstances where you do have the legal aid reference number of the certificate you wish to transfer, you should submit a transfer request on LAMS in accordance with the instructions set out in Section 24 of the LAMS supplier manual or by watching the instructional video. You must upload a signed form of authority with your transfer request. The form of authority is not required in a case where the Guardian Ad Litem or the official solicitor has been instructed on behalf of the child or assisted person.
- In circumstances where the legal aid certificate is more than a year old or where there has been inactivity on the case, you should update the Agency with details of the progress of the proceedings.
- In matrimonial cases, you must confirm/clarify that only one ‘Record/Suit Number’ was ever assigned to the proceedings and that all matters are continuing on foot of same.
If all relevant information has been provided the transfer request will be approved and an amended certificate will be issued to the incoming solicitor along with an accompanying transfer letter. A transfer letter will also be issued to the outgoing solicitor. Provided all information is supplied and no queries are raised on the transfer Request, the amended legal aid certificate will be dated the date of submission of the request. Should the Agency need to raise any queries on the transfer request, the amended certificate will be dated the date on which all queries have been satisfactorily responded to.
Exceptional funding applications
Suppliers are reminded that the only method by which an application can be made for exceptional funding is by submitting an exceptional funding application request in LAMS. The Agency cannot accept any application or request for authority submitted by way of email. For further information on submitting requests for exceptional funding, please refer to the step by step ‘Guidance on submitting requests for civil exceptional funding’ which can be found on our website.
What you might have missed
Please note that the LSANI have published the following on the Agency’s website:
- Circular ‘LSA 05-21 - supplier and business reregistration for LAMS’ which is located within the ‘2021 circulars’ area of the website.
- Guidance ‘LAMS reregistration manual’ which is located within the ‘LAMS guidance’ area of the website.
- Updated Form ‘Self-billing template form – 2021’ which is located within the ‘LAMS legal aid supporting documents’ area of the website.
- LSANI operational perfrmance charts ‘LSANI – operational performance gallery for April 2021’ can be located within the ‘Useful information for legal aid suppliers’ area of the website.
Notes to editors:
- Care and Justice Campus consultation report published 16 June 2021
- New online Probate Portal launched 14 June 2021
- Illegal money lending used as a means to control and exploit vulnerable people 14 June 2021
- Long encourages applications on anniversary of the removal of the Same Household Rule 09 June 2021