The Civil Legal Services (Remuneration) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 (the 2015 Order) provides that a solicitor representing a client shall receive 35% of the normal fee when an appeal before an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal is withdrawn on the day of the substantive hearing. This reduced fee was originally designed for circumstances in which the appellant withdraws the appeal on the day of the hearing and does not wish to pursue the refusal of immigration or asylum further. However, there are instances when the Home Office withdraws the decision under appeal on the day of the substantive hearing, leading to the solicitor receiving the reduced fee. The Department agrees the full fee should be payable in these circumstances and proposed making a Direction to the Legal Services Agency advising that it shall interpret the fees payable in the 2015 Order in a manner which allows the full composite fee of £1,200 to be paid when the Home Office has withdrawn its decision on the day of the hearing.
A targeted consultation was carried out in order to provide consultees with the opportunity to identify any issues for the Department to consider prior to issuing the Direction to the Agency. Following this consultation process, a post consultation report was completed and the Direction was issued to the Legal Services Agency on 7 January 2020.