Weekly summary for COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme requests by legal aid suppliers - week ending 12 June 2020

Date published: 17 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 12 June 2020.

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme barrister activity as at 12 June 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 12 June 2020, 194 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 265 requests during the previous week and brings the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,101.
  • These 2,101 payment requests were submitted by 111 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,101 payment requests, just over a fifth (21%; 433) were submitted by 40 separate Barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 81 IPS requests were submitted by Barristers in the week ending 12 June 2020, up from 52 in the previous week.
  • Overall, IPS requests from Barristers have been submitted in similar proportions against current Criminal (50%) and Rep Higher certificates (49%). The final 1% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Barrister requests IPS - 12 June 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,101 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,074 (99%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,410) have been determined, 664 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 12 June 2020, 61% (256) of all Barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 39% (167) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Barrister Requests - 12 June 2020

 

  • In the week ending 12 June 2020, a total of £20,048 was authorised for payment to Barristers, bringing the overall total paid to Barristers since the scheme went live to £97,262.

The reasons for these 167 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

38%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

17%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

16%

Incorrect fee claimed

7%

Payment previously received

14%

Counsel not certified

4%

Case with Taxing Master

1%

Limited certificate in operation

3%

Case complete

1%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Barrister IPS requests that have been rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, over a third (38%) was due to a completed 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%); supporting evidence was not uploaded (16%); and payment had been previously received (14%).

 

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme solicitor firm activity as at 12 June 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 12 June 2020, 194 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 265 requests during the previous week and brings the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,101.
  • These 2,101 payment requests were submitted by 111 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,101 payment requests, almost four-fifths (79%; 1,668) were submitted by 71 separate Solicitor Firms. 
  • 113 IPS requests were submitted by Solicitor Firms in the week ending 12 June 2020, the fourth consecutive weekly drop since the scheme was introduced (Figure 1).
  • Since the scheme began, over half of all IPS requests from Solicitor Firms have been submitted against current Criminal certificates (57%), with a further 26% submitted against Rep Higher certificates.  The final 17% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Solicitor Firm requests IPS - 12 June 2020

 

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,101 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,074 (99%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,410) have been determined, 664 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 12 June 2020, 70% (1,154) of all Solicitor Firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 30% (497) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests - 12 June 2020

 

  • In the week ending 12 June 2020, a total of £40,164 was authorised for payment to Solicitor Firms, bringing the overall total paid to Solicitor Firms since the scheme went live to £523,131.

The reasons for these 497 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

32%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

14%

Incorrect fee claimed

14%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

19%

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 have been rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, almost a third (32%) 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 (19%); an incorrect fee was claimed (14%); a full certificate was not held for 3 months (14%); 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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