Weekly summary for COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme requests by legal aid suppliers

Date published: 03 June 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 29 May 2020.

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme barrister activity as at 29 May 2020

1.  Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 29 May 2020, 380 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS.  This compares with 444 requests during the previous week and brings the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 1,642.
  • These 1,642 payment requests were submitted by 99 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 1,642 requests, less than a fifth (18%; 300) were submitted by 33 separate Barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 34 IPS requests were submitted by Barristers in the week ending 29 May 2020, the second consecutive drop from 42 and 224 in the previous two weeks.
  • Overall, the majority of IPS requests from Barristers have been submitted against current Rep Higher certificates (64%), with just over a third (36%) submitted against Criminal certificates.  The final 1% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Barrister requests IPS - 29 May 2020

 

2.  Outcomes of requests received

 

  • Of the 1,642 IPS requests received by LSANI, 1,610 (98%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,067) have been determined, 543 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 29 May 2020, 57% (168) of all Barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 43% (129) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Barrister Requests as at 29 May 2020

 

  • In the week ending 29 May 2020, £9,507 was authorised for payment to Barristers, bringing the overall total paid to Barristers since the scheme went live to £68,559

The reasons for these 129 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

32%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

20%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

18%

Incorrect fee claimed

8%

Payment previously received

12%

Counsel not certified

5%

Case with Taxing Master

1%

Limited certificate in operation

3%

Case complete

2%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Barrister IPS requests that were rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, around a third (32%) 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 (20%), with a further 18% rejected due to supporting evidence not being uploaded. 

 

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme solicitor firm activity as at 29 May 2020

1.  Payment requests received
 

  • In the week ending Friday 29 May 2020, 380 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS.  This compares with 444 requests during the previous week and brings the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 1,642.  
  • These 1,642 payment requests were submitted by 99 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 1,642 requests, over four-fifths (82%; 1,342) were submitted by 66 separate Solicitor Firms. 
  • 346 IPS requests were submitted by Solicitor Firms in the week ending 29 May 2020, the second consecutive drop from 402 and 594 in the previous two weeks (Figure 1).
  • Since the scheme began, over half of all IPS requests from Solicitor Firms have been submitted against current Criminal certificates (55%), with a further 27% submitted against Rep Higher certificates.  The final 18% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests as at 29 May 2020

 

2.  Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 1,642 IPS requests received by LSANI, 1,610 (98%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,067) have been determined, 543 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 29 May 2020, 68% (899) of all Solicitor Firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 32% (414) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests as at 29 May 2020

 

  • In the week ending 29 May 2020, a total of £94,804 was authorised for payment to Solicitor Firms, bringing the overall total paid to Solicitor Firms since the scheme went live to £423,269.

The reasons for these 414 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

12%

Incorrect fee claimed

12%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

16%

Barrister(s) not attached or request uploaded

10%

Declaration in respect of attaching barrister not included

3%

Payment previously received

5%

Case with Taxing Master

<0.5%

Disbursements cannot be claimed

<0.5%

Limited certificate in operation

2%

Report on case claimed / case complete

1%

Counsel not certified

<0.5%

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 completed declaration not being included with the submitted request.  Other notable reasons for rejection were that: supporting evidence was not uploaded (16%); a full certificate was not held for 3 months (12%); an incorrect fee was claimed (12%) and barristers were not attached to the case (10%). 

 

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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