Detail of outcome
We received 2,317 responses to the Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps consultation from a variety of respondents including solicitors, barristers, representative bodies, the Judiciary, and members of the public.
The document sets out the Government Response to consultation. In summary the key decisions are to:
- Reduce litigators’ fees in a phased manner and continue with the slower implementation timetable for new criminal legal aid Duty Provider Work contracts in order to give the market more time to prepare. An initial reduction of 8.75% would apply to new cases starting on or after 20 March, and the next reduction would not apply until the following year.
- Introduce a new model of tendering for Duty Provider Work to achieve value for money and make sure there is always help available for people questioned or charged with a crime. As part of this we will allow an unlimited number of Own Client Work contracts for those meeting quality standards so people can choose their own provider or opt for the Duty Provider. Duty slots will be allocated through a tight contracting mechanism based on quality and capacity to ensure that only firms, or groups of firms, which demonstrate clearly they have the capability to operate in this more challenging financial environment. Following specialist advice from Otterburn Legal Consulting and KPMG LLP there will be 525 of these contracts (the maximum of the range advised by consultants) available.
- Implement a new, simplified, version of the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) and reduce barristers’ fees by, on average, 6%: We are implementing Option 2.
The full response is on the Justice consultation hub.
Nearly 16,000 responses were received following the Transforming Legal Aid consultation published in April. In addition to these, the Ministry of Justice held 14 stakeholder events throughout the consultation period.
All views expressed have been carefully considered and it is on the basis of these that the proposals set out in Part 1 of this consultation have been determined. In the case of two of the original Transforming Legal Aid proposals – those to introduce competitive tendering and our proposed reforms to criminal advocacy fees – it was decided to undertake a second phase of consultation on refined proposals.