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Courts: Fees

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 8 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will require the Legal Services Commission to review the system of payment for junior counsel's services in the Family Court, to ensure that they are remunerated fairly in proportion to the cases in which they appear. [HL4573]

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) are reviewing the system of payment for counsel's services in the Family Court as part of the Family Legal Aid Funding from 2010 consultation which closed on 3 April 2009.

The proposed family advocacy scheme in the consultation proposes paying the same fee for the same work regardless of whether the advocate is a self employed, or in-house barrister or solicitor, and we proposed an intermediate rate which we believe is fair to all advocates. The scheme includes higher fees for more complex work: for example, by paying for additional interim hearings or paying extra for lengthy final hearings. Some respondents to the consultation were concerned that the proposed scheme did not contain sufficient graduation to reward more complex cases. The LSC has been working closely with stakeholders on further development of the scheme. It is likely that the final scheme will have more graduation and complexity, than that originally proposed.