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

Date published: 24 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 19 June 2020.

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

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 19 June 2020, 299 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 194 requests during the previous week and represents the first weekly increase since commencement of the scheme, bringing the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,400.
  • These 2,400 payment requests were submitted by 121 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,400 payment requests, under a quarter (23%; 544) were submitted by 45 separate Barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 111 IPS requests were submitted by Barristers in the week ending 19 June 2020, up from 81 in the previous week and the third consecutive weekly increase.
  • Overall, IPS requests from Barristers have been submitted in similar proportions against Rep Higher (50%) and Criminal (49%) certificates. The final 1% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Barrister requests IPS - 19 June 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,400 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,378 (99%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,586) have been determined, 792 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 19 June 2020, 58% (315) of all Barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 42% (226) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Barrister Requests - 19 June 2020

 

  • In the week ending 19 June 2020, a total of £24,044 was authorised for payment to Barristers, bringing the overall total paid to Barristers since the scheme went live to £121,306.

The reasons for these 226 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

42%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

14%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

16%

Incorrect fee claimed

6%

Payment previously received

10%

Counsel not certified

3%

Case with Taxing Master

<0.5%

Limited certificate in operation

8%

Case complete

1%

No certificate attached to case

<0.5%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

 

  • Of all Barrister IPS requests that have been rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, more than two-fifths (42%) 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 (14%); and payment had been previously received (10%).

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

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 19 June 2020, 299 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 194 requests during the previous week represents the first weekly increase since commencement of the scheme, bringing the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,400.
  • These 2,400 payment requests were submitted by 121 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,400 payment requests, over three-quarters (77%; 1,856) were submitted by 76 separate Solicitor Firms. 
  • 188 IPS requests were submitted by Solicitor Firms in the week ending 19 June 2020, an increase on 113 requests in the previous week, and the first weekly increase since the introduction of the scheme (Figure 1).
  • Since the scheme began, over half of all IPS requests from Solicitor Firms have been submitted against Criminal certificates (57%), with 27% submitted against Rep Higher certificates.  The final 16% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).


Figure 1

Figure 1 - Solicitor Firm requests IPS - 19 June 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,400 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,378 (99%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,586) have been determined, 792 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 19 June 2020, 69% (1,271) of all Solicitor Firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 31% (566) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests - 19 June 2020

 

  • In the week ending 19 June 2020, a total of £52,920 was authorised for payment to Solicitor Firms, bringing the overall total paid to Solicitor Firms since the scheme went live to £576,051.

The reasons for these 566 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

33%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

13%

Incorrect fee claimed

13%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

21%

Barrister(s) not attached or request uploaded

9%

Declaration in respect of attaching barrister not included

2%

Payment previously received

4%

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%

No certificate attached to case

<0.5%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Solicitor Firm IPS requests that have been rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, a third (33%) 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 (21%); an incorrect fee was claimed (13%) and a full certificate was not held for 3 months (13%).

 

 

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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