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Criminal Law Barristers (Fees)

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 29 March 2011

19. What progress has been made on proposed changes to the payment of fees to criminal law barristers through the Legal Services Commission. (49339)

The processing, validation and payment of claims under the advocates graduated fees scheme is being transferred from Her Majesty’s Courts Service to the Legal Services Commission. The transfer is taking place on a phased basis between 7 February and 18 April of this year.

I know that it is not proper to talk about lawyers and fees in the same sentence, but this is an overly bureaucratic system that does not pay out, as may be familiar to many Members of this House. There are criminal barristers who have not received fees for many, many months after they have completed their work. Does the Minister agree that that is plain unfair?

If my hon. Friend would like to contact me with specifics, I would happily take them up. However, the responsibility for processing claims began to be passed to the LSC only on 7 February, so delays of six months are impossible. Properly completed claims are currently being processed within two weeks.