Digitisation of legal aid

The Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland (LSANI) is introducing a new digital Legal Aid Management System (LAMS) in April 2019. 

 

What is LAMS?

When LAMS comes into operation, the Agency will only accept online applications and requests in relation to all live and new cases and it will no longer accept paper applications and payment requests.

LAMS is a digital case management system that will enable online applications, requests and correspondence and will provide real-time visibility of case status.

It will speed up processing times, reduce form-filling and use of paper, eliminate postage costs and provision of duplicate information and it will improve data accuracy. It will provide more frequent payments to solicitors and barristers, including direct payments to counsel.

LAMS will be accessible on various electronic devices.

Please see our promotional material on our Legal aid is going digital page.

What do legal professionals need to do?

To continue to access legal aid after April 2019, you will need to take the following steps: 

Step 1  Create an nidirect account

Solicitors must create an nidirect account for identity assurance and then visit one of a number of locations to present identification.  This is a NI Government requirement to ensure that your privacy is protected and your data secure.

Solicitors should do this now. 

Follow the instructions - Solicitors: How to create an nidirect account.

For barristers, the Bar Library will assist your nidirect account creation, as part of step 2. No action is required until January 2019.

Step 2  Create a digital account on LAMS

Both solicitors and barristers must then create a digital account on LAMS. You will be able to do this from January 2019.

Step 3  Begin using LAMS

You will then be ready to start using LAMS from April 2019.

Solicitors: How to create an nidirect account

To gain access to LAMS from January 2019, solicitors first need to create an nidirect account. You can do this now by taking the following steps:

Step 1 - Go to the link below to create your nidirect account. Enter the requested personal information, create a memorable word, and an authentication code will be sent to your email address. For most people the address you supply should be your home address as this will be the address most likely to be supported by your identification documents. Note that data provided for nidirect accounts is held in a secure encrypted database and is used solely for the purposes of assuring an individual’s identity.

Step 2 - You must then have your account verified within 5 calendar days at one of the Government’s 13 verification centres across Northern Ireland.

Go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/nidirect-legal-aid to find out more and to create your account.

For further information on how to use the digital case management system, please see:

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