CBA Announcement: CLAR 1, Accelerated ASKS & CLAR 2 – 21.08.20

Finally, after what feels like a lifetime the Government has announced the implementation of CLAR 1, the ‘Accelerated Asks’ (oh the irony) and not before time! The SI is to be laid imminently.

The Lord Chancellor has also announced the next stage. CLAR 2 will be an independently led review.  We are in discussions about the shape and format.

A huge amount of time and effort has gone into CLAR 1 but this is not the end of it.  These changes only scratch at the surface. Payments under AGFS are woefully low. We are disappointed that our proposals as set out in our consultation response have not been adopted and will continue to press on these issues in CLAR 2. Whilst any improvement is to be welcomed, this is too little and too late. It will not assist in the crisis facing the criminal bar which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the lack of acknowledgment by the Treasury of the plight we are in.

I am sure I do not need to explain the finer details, as we have all been on the longest road to reach this point but as a summary, the AGFS changes are as follows:

PPE: Hourly payment above category thresholds. Murder remains excluded.

Unused: A standard bolt on payment equivalent to 1.5hrs of work will be paid in every case post PTPH to cover 0-3 hours. An hourly payment to apply thereafter.

Cracks: Increase to 100%. Thirds distinction to be removed.

We welcome the above but it has to be accepted and acknowledged that there needs to be significant investment in the Courts, but also those practitioners who operate within them.  The Government cannot continue to say it supports justice without supporting those who are at the coal face.

The Government response can be accessed here

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