A Message From the Law Society's Legal Aid Team

16/02/2018

A message from the Law Society’s Legal Aid Team for Criminal Law Practitioners.
Dear members, 
 
I am writing to let you know about a change of process that will affect the offence date recorded on a small number of Representation Orders. 
 
When processing an application for legal aid in criminal proceedings the LAA’s digital system automatically generates a Representation Order based on the details of the proceedings held on the LIBRA system used by HMCTS. Occasionally there can be a discrepancy between the application form and the LIBRA record in relation to the date of the alleged offence. This may be, for instance, because the wrong date has been supplied by either the courts, police or the applicant. Where this happens our system generates a Representation Order with the date from the LIBRA record, and so far we have taken the decision to produce an additional separate manual Representation Order showing the date on the application form. A paper copy of this manual Representation Order has been sent to the solicitors. 
 
As a physical copy of the Representation Order is no longer required to make a claim for payment in the majority of cases we have decided to change this approach. From 19th February 2018 where the offence dates differ between the application and the LIBRA record we will issue the system-generated Representation Order with the information provided on LIBRA. We will not issue a separate manually created order, and the firm will receive this form by email. This will affect a relatively small number of cases (on average 37 per month). 
 
All affected teams within the LAA have been made aware of the new approach, and we have worked with them to ensure that they will continue have access to the accurate offence dates via other means. Consequently there should be no impact on the ability of litigators and advocates to submit bills under the Magistrates Court billing, LGFS or AGFS schemes; and no impact in relation to providing evidence for any later audits or assurance exercises.
 
We will continue to keep you updated with any further developments with regard to this matter, as and when these arise.
 
Regards
 
Alice Mutasa
Policy Adviser - criminal legal aid
Justice Team
The Law Society
Tel: 020 7316 5737
Internal extension: 4240
E-mail: alice.mutasa@lawsociety.org.uk
 

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