Weekly summary for COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme requests by legal aid suppliers - week ending 3 July 2020

Date published: 09 July 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 3 July 2020.

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme barrister activity as at 3 July 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 3 July 2020, 266 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 221 requests during the previous week, bringing the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,887.
  • These 2,887 payment requests were submitted by 151 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,887 payment requests, over a fifth (23%; 668) were submitted by 55 separate Barristers. 
  • Figure 1 shows that 79 IPS requests were submitted by Barristers in the week ending 3 July 2020 (week 8), up from 45 in the previous week.
  • Overall, more than half of IPS requests from Barristers have been submitted against Rep Higher certificates (55%); with 44% submitted against Criminal certificates. The final 1% were submitted under Rep Lower (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Barrister requests IPS - 3 July 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,887 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,842 (98%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,861) have been determined, 981 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 3 July 2020, 58% (384) of all Barrister requests with a completed status have been determined, while 42% (278) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Barrister Requests as at 3 July 2020

 

  • In the week ending 3 July 2020, a total of £10,726 was authorised for payment to Barristers, bringing the overall total paid to Barristers since the scheme went live to £145,875.

The reasons for these 278 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

41%

Full certificate not held for 3 months

14%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

18%

Incorrect fee claimed

5%

Payment previously received

9%

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 (41%) 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 (18%) and a full certificate was not held for 3 months (14%).

 

COVID-19 Interim Payment Scheme solicitor firm activity as at 3 July 2020

1. Payment requests received

  • In the week ending Friday 3 July 2020, 266 IPS requests were submitted via LAMS. This compares with 221 requests during the previous week, bringing the overall number of IPS requests since the scheme began to 2,887.      
  • These 2,887 payment requests were submitted by 151 individual legal aid providers (including both Barristers and Solicitor Firms).
  • Of these 2,887 payment requests, over three-quarters (77%; 2,219) were submitted by 96 separate Solicitor Firms. 
  • 187 IPS requests were submitted by Solicitor Firms in the week ending 3 July 2020 (week 8), up from 176 requests in the previous week (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 - 3 July 2020

 

2. Outcomes of requests received

  • Of the 2,887 IPS requests received by LSANI, 2,842 (98%) have a completed status. While the majority of these (1,861) have been determined, 981 requests have been rejected for various reasons.
  • Figure 2 shows that, as at 3 July 2020, 68% (1,477) of all Solicitor Firm requests with a completed status have been determined, while 32% (703) have been rejected.

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Completed Solicitor Firm Requests as at 3 July 2020

 

  • In the week ending 3 July 2020, a total of £49,229 was authorised for payment to Solicitor Firms, bringing the overall total paid to Solicitor Firms since the scheme went live to £674,015.

The reasons for these 703 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

11%

Supporting evidence not uploaded

23%

Barrister(s) not attached or request uploaded

8%

Declaration in respect of attaching barrister not included

2%

Payment previously received

3%

Case with Taxing Master

<0.5%

Disbursements cannot be claimed

<0.5%

Limited certificate in operation

2%

Report on case claimed / case complete

<0.5%

Counsel not certified

1%

Certificate suspended

<0.5%

Case not eligible under IPS (Court of Appeal case)

<0.5%

No certificate attached to case

1%

Total rejected IPS requests

100%

 

  • Of all Solicitor Firm IPS requests that have been rejected by LSANI since the scheme began, more than 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 (23%); a full certificate was not held for 3 months (12%) and an incorrect fee was claimed (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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