On Thursday, June 30, the the government announced it will introduce secondary legislation to increase criminal legal aid costs.
Although some areas will increase by a welcome 15%, the general increase for lawyers announced so far equates to a 9% increase if all areas of criminal legal aid are taken into account.
“While today’s announcement means at least some of the long-fought rate hikes are blocked, that must be the floor of funding increases and not the ceiling,” the Law Society of England president said. and Wales, I. Stephanie Boyce.
What this means for lawyers
The higher fees will be available to criminal legal aid lawyers from September 30, 2022.
The government said the following areas would get a 15% increase:
- magistrates’ courts
- police stations
Our point of view
For this package to be sustainable for the profession, the government must close the gap between this initial 9% package and the bare minimum of 15% identified by the independent study published by Sir Christopher Bellamy last year.
This is a breakthrough year for criminal legal aid firms, and unless the government can fully stabilize the criminal legal aid system with the investment it needs, many between them will make tough decisions about sustainability.
This first initial investment only takes us in part. There are encouraging signs that the government is listening to the concerns of the profession.
The second stage of this process of reform and investment must show significant progress towards a sustainable criminal legal aid system.
We will continue to press the government to ensure that our criminal justice system receives the full and adequate funding it desperately needs.
Longer-term proposals, including details on longer-term funding and structural reform of progressive fee systems, are expected to be released in fall 2022.
We are keen to continue to work closely with the Ministry of Justice and the Bar on the design of an independent advisory council, which would advise the Lord Chancellor on how criminal legal aid should be provided.
Check out our work so far