Financial Update: LAA Hardship Claims & Bounce Back
As reported in this week’s Monday Message, the LAA have agreed to make changes to the Hardship Provisions under Regulation 21 of the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 (as amended).
The SI has been laid and the provisions come into force today (1st May 2020). See here.
In summary, the amendments will allow an advance payment to be made, not simply for work done e.g. hearings but also for the minimum future payment on the claim. For example, cases post PTPH will attract an advanced cracked trial fee (depending on third reached).
The qualifying criteria is as follows:
- Been instructed for a month (reduced from 6m requirement).
- Are unlikely to receive final payment for the case in the 3 months following the submission of your claim (almost inevitable owing to COVID-19).
- The Claim is for more than £450 (excluding VAT) (This has been reduced from £5000 minimum).
- You are likely to suffer financial hardship. The LAA have agreed that no evidence will be required. Previously financial information and other material would have been necessary. There is a presumption of hardship in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It should be noted that any advance payment claimed, like the CPS advance payment of £500, will be deducted from the final claim.
A helpful scenario table has been produced by the MOJ. See attached PDF.
We also advise all to keep logs for wasted preparation claims.
It appears that these will be available for self employed individuals with 100% government backed loans of up to 25% of turnover (with loans of between £2000 and £50,000). Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
They will operate with 12 months interest free. Discussions on capping interest thereafter are continuing – initial reports indicate a 2.5% interest rate.
All details are not yet known but when it is we will update you. See here.
We understand that this is not a solution given the absolute loss of income and inability to earn that lost income back owing to the nature of our practice. We can only be in one court in one case at any time.
We continue to press for additional measures within and outwith the regulations and moreover financial assistance from the Treasury
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