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

Date published: 28 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 22 May 2020.

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme barrister activity as at 22 May 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 22 May 2020, 444 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 818 requests as at 15 May 2020 and brings the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 1,262.
  • These 1,262 payment requests were submitted by 87 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 1,262 requests, just over a fifth (21%; 266) were submitted by 29 separate Barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 42 IPS requests were submitted by Barristers in the week ending 22 May 2020. This represents a drop of over 80% when compared with the 224 requests submitted by 15 May 2020.
  • Overall, the majority of IPS requests from Barristers have been submitted against current Rep Higher certificates (65%), with just over a third (34%) submitted against Criminal certificates.  The final 1% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Barrister requests IPS - 22 May 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 1,262 IPS requests received by LSANI, 1,216 (96%) have a completed status.  While the majority of these (783) have been determined, 433 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 22 May 2020, 54% (138) of all Barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 46% (117) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Barrister Requests as at 22 May 2020

 

  • In the week ending 22 May 2020, a total of £7,896 was authorised for payment to Barristers, bringing the overall total paid to Barristers since the scheme went live to £59,052

The reasons for these 117 Barrister IPS requests being rejected are summarised in Table 1.  The most common reason for both Barrister and Solicitor requests being rejected is “Declaration not included”.

Table 1: Reasons for IPS requests being rejected

Reasons for rejection of Barrister IPS requests

Per cent (%)

Declaration not included

33%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

21%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

19%

Incorrect fee claimed

8%

Payment previously received

9%

Counsel not certified

5%

Case with Taxing Master

1%

Limited certificate in operation

3%

Case complete

1%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Barrister IPS requests that were rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, a third (33%) was due to a declaration not being included with the submitted request. In addition, a fifth of requests were rejected as a full certificate was not held for 3 months (21%), with a further fifth rejected due to supporting evidence not being uploaded (19%). 

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme solicitor firm activity as at 22 May 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 22 May 2020, 444 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 818 requests as at 15 May 2020 and brings the overall total of IPS requests since the Scheme began to 1,262.
  • These 1,262 payment requests were submitted by 87 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 1,262 requests, almost four-fifths (79%; 996) were submitted by 58 separate Solicitor Firms. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 402 IPS requests were submitted by Solicitor Firms in the week ending 22 May 2020. This represents a drop of 32% when compared with the 594 requests submitted by 15 May 2020.
  • Since the Scheme began, over half of all IPS requests from Solicitor Firms have been submitted against current Criminal certificates (54%), with a further 28% submitted against Rep Higher certificates. The final 18% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Solicitor Firm requests IPS - 22 May 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 1,262 IPS requests received by LSANI, 1,216 (96%) have a completed status.  While the majority of these (783) have been determined, 433 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 22 May 2020, 67% (645) of all Solicitor Firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 33% (316) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests as at 22 May 2020

 

 

  • In the week ending 22 May 2020, a total of £120,183 was authorised for payment to Solicitor Firms, bringing the overall total paid to Solicitor Firms since the Scheme went live to £328,465.

The reasons for these 316 Solicitor Firm IPS requests being rejected are summarised in Table 1. The most common reason for both Barrister and Solicitor requests being rejected is “Declaration not included”.

Table 1: Reasons for IPS requests being rejected

Reasons for rejection of Solicitor Firm IPS requests

Per cent (%)

Declaration not included

36%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

13%

Incorrect fee claimed

14%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

13%

Barrister(s) not attached or request uploaded

12%

Declaration in respect of attaching barrister not included

4%

Payment previously received

4%

Case with Taxing Master

<0.5%

Disbursements cannot be claimed

<0.5%

Limited certificate in operation

1%

Report on case claimed / case complete

1%

Counsel not certified

1%

Certificate suspended

<0.5%

Case not eligible under IPS (Court of Appeal case)

<0.5%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Solicitor Firm IPS requests that were rejected by LSANI since the Scheme began, over a third (36%) was due to a declaration not being included with the submitted request. Other notable reasons for rejection were that: an incorrect fee was claimed (14%); a full certificate was not held for 3 months (13%); supporting evidence was not uploaded (13%); and barristers were not attached to the case (12%). 

 

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.

Share this page

Back to top