Legal aid supplier update - summary reports for COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme requests

Date published: 20 May 2020

The Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland (LSANI) launched the COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme (IPS) on Thursday 7 May 2020. The figures contained below represent Management Information (MI) detailing activity under this scheme for both barristers and solicitor firms up to and including Friday 15 May 2020.

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme barrister activity as at 15 May 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • As at Friday 15 May 2020, a total of 818 IPS requests had been submitted via LAMS.  These payment requests were submitted by 66 individual legal aid providers (including both barristers and solicitor firms).
  • Of these 818 requests, just over a quarter (27%; 224) were submitted by 24 separate barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that two-thirds (150) of these requests from barristers were submitted against current rep higher certificates, with just under a third (72) submitted against criminal certificates.  The final 1%, were submitted under rep lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 818 IPS requests received by LSANI, 777 (95%) had a completed status. While the majority of these (505) have been determined, 272 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that 55% (119) of barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 45% (99) have been rejected.

Figure 2

 

  • As at 15 May 2020, a total of £51,156 had been authorised for payment to barristers through these 119 determined IPS requests.

The reasons for barrister IPS requests being rejected are presented in Table 1. The most common reason for both barrister and solicitor requests being rejected is “Declaration not included”, followed by “Full Legal Aid certificate not held for 3 months”. 

Table 1: Reasons for IPS requests being rejected

Reasons for rejection of barrister IPS requests

Per cent (%)

Declaration not included

32%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

22%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

19%

Incorrect fee claimed

9%

Payment previously received

9%

Counsel not certified

6%

Case with Taxing Master

1%

Limited certificate in operation

1%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all barrister IPS requests that were rejected by LSANI, almost a third (32%) was due to a declaration not being included in the submitted request.  In addition, a fifth of requests was rejected as a full certificate was not held for 3 months (22%), with a further fifth rejected due to supporting evidence not being uploaded (19%).

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme solicitor firm activity as at 15 May 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • As at Friday 15 May 2020, a total of 818 IPS requests had been submitted via LAMS. These payment requests were submitted by 66 individual legal aid providers (including both barristers and solicitor firms).
  • Of these 818 requests, almost three quarters (73%; 594) were submitted by 42 separate solicitor firms. 
  • As shown in Figure 1, the majority of IPS requests from solicitor firms were submitted against current criminal certificates (336; 57%), with just under a third (30%; 179) submitted against rep higher certificates. The final 13%, were submitted under rep lower.

Figure 1

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

 

  • Of the 818 IPS requests received by LSANI, 777 (95%) had a completed status. While the majority of these (505) have been determined, 272 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that 69% (386) of solicitor firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 31% (173) have been rejected.  

Figure 2

 

  • As at 15 May 2020, a total of £208,282 had been authorised for payment to solicitor firms through these 386 determined IPS requests.

The reasons for solicitor firm IPS requests being rejected are presented in Table 1. The most common reason for both barrister and solicitor requests being rejected is “Declaration not included”, followed by “Full Legal Aid certificate not held for 3 months”. 

Table 1: Reasons for IPS requests being rejected

Reasons for rejection of Solicitor Firm IPS requests

Per cent (%)

Declaration not included

35%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

17%

Incorrect fee claimed

13%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

12%

Barrister(s) not attached or request uploaded

11%

Declaration in respect of attaching barrister not included

6%

Payment previously received

3%

Case with Taxing Master

1%

Disbursements cannot be claimed

1%

Limited certificate in operation

1%

Report on case claimed

1%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

 

  • Of all solicitor firm IPS requests that were rejected by LSANI, over a third (35%) was due to a declaration not being included with the submitted request.  Other notable reasons for rejection were that: a full certificate was not held for 3 months (17%); an incorrect fee was claimed (13%); supporting evidence was not uploaded (12%); and barristers were not attached to the case (11%).  

 

Please note that printable PDF versions of these reports are located within the Important updates & notices page under the title Summary reports for COVID-19 IPS requests.

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