Lord Carter considered a range of remuneration systems for both civil and criminal legal aid in his report on the procurement of legal aid, “Legal Aid: A market-based approach to reform”, published in July 2006. Following the public consultation on Lord Carter’s proposals, the Government has accepted his recommendation that graduated fees should be used to remunerate Crown court litigation and advocacy, and will consider whether such a scheme should be introduced for magistrates court work prior to the introduction of best value tendering.
Early in 2007, the Legal Services Commission will re-consult on a revised care proceedings graduated fee scheme, with a view to implementing the new scheme—apart from for advocacy—in October 2007. At the same time, the LSC will re-consult on a revised scheme for family help—Private, with a view to implementation in October 2007. Regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) will be drawn up for the new schemes.
The Department and the LSC recently published “Legal Aid Reform: the way ahead”, which sets out our commitment to ensure a sustainable legal aid market is in place, with a quality assured service at the heart of our procurement strategy. It was accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) that made a full assessment of the impact of the introduction of fixed fees for criminal legal aid in the magistrates court. It also covers the tailored fixed fee (TFF) replacement scheme for civil legal aid work excluding family and mental health. Copies of both these documents can be found in the Library and on both the DCA and LSC websites.
The LSC will shortly be releasing a further consultation paper regarding the introduction of fixed fees for work in the police station. This will be accompanied by a draft RIA, which will be finalised following the publication of the LSC’s response to consultation and will again make a full assessment of the impact of fixed fees in this area.