Drafting solemn accounts prior to 29 April fee reform changes

Regulations to increase solicitors’ legal assistance fees and introduce revised payment arrangements for summary and solemn criminal legal aid come into force on 29 April 2023.

However, in solemn criminal cases the transitional arrangements included in the reform will allow you to use the reform fee table for cases that are effective now, but do not conclude until on or after 29 April.

Solemn reforms

If you have already commenced drafting your Legal Aid Online (LAOL) account and wish to use the reform fee table, you will be required to re-frame your account in its entirety using the fee reform fees.

You may wish to stop drafting your online account at this time, unless you have already decided you wish to make your claim using the pre-reform fees.

The new fee table is mostly made up of block fees and has fewer items to add.

On or after 29 April

Where you have already drafted a solemn account and you access the account online for the first time on or after 29 April, it will default to the new fee table and as such, you will see a warning that the previously drafted work items are invalid.

At this stage you can elect to remain on the pre-reform fee table and this will remove the warning or you can elect to delete the work items and frame the account using the fee reform fees.

Summary reforms

For Summary fixed fee and ABWOR fixed fee cases, these reforms will apply to such grants of legal aid made on or after 29 April.

Further update

Full guidance on the reforms will be issued shortly.

More information

If you have any questions about these changes please contact:

Iain Shaw, Product Manager
E: shawia@slab.org.uk

Lynne Dunlop, Accounts System Specialist
E: dunloply@slab.org.uk

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