As a result of the changes to the fee regulations, the initial expenditure levels in Criminal ABWOR fixed fee cases (£550 in Sheriff Court cases, and £185 in JP Court cases) need to be increased if a Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) report is being considered in the first two deferred sentence hearings.
The add-on fee for that element of work would mean that the fee will exceed the limits (£551.57 in sheriff court cases, and £189.57 in JP court cases).
We are working on an update to Legal Aid Online to introduce a simple way of requesting an increase in the limit for these cases at the time of submitting the ABWOR application. We hope to have this change implemented in the near future.
In the meantime, if a CJSW report has been, or is likely to be requested in a case, you should apply for the Deferred Sentence template increase for the third or subsequent deferred sentence, even if the case has not reached that stage.
This is the easiest way of getting prior approval for the increased expenditure to meet all the fixed fees, and this can also be used for any additional deferred sentence hearings which may arise in the case too.
Please contact Kingsley Thomas, Head of Criminal Legal Assistance