Covid-19: Existing interim fee provisions extended to Civil & Children’s legal aid

Civil, Children’s and Solemn Criminal legal aid accounts have now been added to those able to take advantage of our extended interim payment processes put in place during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

We advised you in a previous update of the existing interim payment processes and of our aim to extend those provisions to allow for more frequent claims to be submitted during Covid-19.

With effect from 30 April we can confirm that the existing interim fee provisions have been extended for the following accounts:

Civil legal aid accounts

  • Where the proceedings include any diet which has been sisted or adjourned, regardless of duration, as a result of Covid-19; or
  • Where the fees properly incurred exceed £5,000
  • A second and subsequent claim may now be made every three months.

Children’s legal aid accounts and Solemn criminal legal aid (including solemn appeals)

  • Where the proceedings include any diet which has been adjourned, regardless of duration, as a result of Covid-19 or
  • Where the fees properly incurred exceed £5,000
  • A second and subsequent claim may now be made every three months.

Click here to see details on how to submit your interim and final accounts.

Other relevant guidance

We’ve updated details of the interim fee payment provisions that are now available

This now provides an improved and extended platform for solicitors to submit interim payment claims in respect of almost all types of account.

Please see this guidance as to how you can make interim claims for other account types.

Final assessments

In line with normal practice, all cases in which interim accounts have been paid will be subject to a final assessment as and when the final account is received.

At that stage should any earlier overpayment become apparent, we reserve our right to adjust any final payment to reflect the amount of any prior overpayment, or where no further payment is due, to seek repayment where necessary.

Further LAOL improvements

Further to the work we have done in respect of the Covid-19 situation we have continued to make improvements and enhancements within legal aid online based on user feedback and calls made to our helpdesk.

Details of these can be found in this update.

How to submit your interim and final accounts

We currently require to support multiple accounts systems. However, you should, wherever possible, submit accounts using Legal Aid Online (LAOL).

Using LAOL should provide you with the best user experience and will allow you to monitor the progress and deal with all other aspects of the accounting online.

There is no limit to the size of account which can be submitted. Detailed guidance on how to prepare and submit your accounts is available here.

The LAOL ‘paper’ process facility also allows you to generate a printable synopsis to enable you to submit paper accounts where that is your preferred option. We are currently restricted in our ability to handle paper accounts, so for speedier processing please follow the guidance for securely submitting the account by email.

Please also note that even if you have previously submitted a paper interim account using the LAOL process, you can still use LAOL to submit further interim claims or your final account online.

The only times that an account cannot be submitted using legal aid online are where:

  • you are claiming for the judicial expenses which have been successfully recovered in lieu of a legal aid claim; or
  • An interim account has already been submitted under the Financial Accounts Management System (FAMS) which was a precursor to legal aid online.

Where you must submit an account using the ‘old’ FAMS paper procedures, please again ensure you follow the guidance for securely submitting the account by email.

More information

If you have any queries on the update, please contact:

Eileen Grant, Assistant Accounts Manager: grantei@slab.org.uk

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