Skip to main content

Support for Law Firms: Covid-19

Volume 678: debated on Thursday 9 July 2020

What discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effectiveness of Government support for law firms during the covid-19 outbreak. (904537)

The CPS has made changes to its system for paying fees to advocates to help support them during this difficult time, adjusted to ensure payment for work performed, even where a normal invoice trigger point has not been reached. The Ministry of Justice is also working closely with legal practitioners to understand the impact of covid-19 on them. The Legal Aid Agency has streamlined the process for interim payments and hardship payments, including lowering the threshold for when such claims can be made.

Before the pandemic, many law firms were already struggling because of a decade of cuts to legal aid. What is the Solicitor General doing to ensure we have a functioning and fair criminal justice system when the crisis is over?

Prosecuting advocates play an essential role in our criminal justice system, and the Government support them, as can be seen with the recent influx of money from the Treasury to the Crown Prosecution Service. On 30 March, the CPS announced measures enabling interim invoices to be raised. That is just one mechanism by which we are supporting criminal practitioners working on Crown Court cases. They are now able to claim hardship payments, for example, which have been expedited. Millions of pounds in extra funding is being provided for not-for-profit providers. We are supporting the legal community across the board in what I accept are very difficult times.

In order to allow the safe exit of hon. Members participating in this item of business and the safe arrival of those participating in the next, I am suspending the House for three minutes.

Sitting suspended.