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I.T Failure – 22.01.19

We have been provided with this statement from the LAA. We find it rather underwhelming but thought you should see it.

“We are not anticipating an increase in the volume of claims rejected, following the issues being experienced.

We may reduce claims where court attendance cannot be verified on HMCTs court records. We would advise that Advocates provide copies of court attendance notes made during the w/c 14th and w/c 21st January to aid in the verification process.

In addition to providing court attendance notes, it is recommended that advocates detail that they had issues signing in during w/c 14th January and w/c 21st January as a result of IT issues experienced. This should be added in the additional information fields.

Advocates are advised to contact the LAA directly in the event of any queries.”

The CBA position is that if counsel state that they were present to conduct the hearing – how else could it have taken place – in these particular circumstances the advocate’s word and signed claim form should be accepted for very obvious reasons.

There have been multiple, very serious IT failures at Court centres across the country this week.

The Xhibit system is down in many places, which might affect future payment of your fees. You should not need to do this, but we advise you to ensure all court clerks, better still the Judge, not only sign off a manuscript record of your attendance and the nature of the hearing, but also provide you with a copy (or take a photograph).

We are in contact with the Legal Aid Agency, who were unaware of the impact on Xhibit, but if past experience is anything to go by nothing is taken on trust even in conditions of court IT collapse.  We are seeking assurances that claims will not be rejected for this period.

This is more evidence, if any was needed, of the chronic underfunding of the CJS. It’s us, solicitors, court staff and Judges who are left to deal with the mess, and witnesses, defendants, jurors and legal professionals who suffer the consequences.


Chris Henley QC              Caroline Goodwin QC
Chair of the CBA              Vice Chair of the CBA

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