We have made this decision after listening to feedback from users and representative bodies. We have balanced a number of factors in reaching this decision including performance, functionality and usage.
We appreciate that the recent LAA Online Portal issues have affected a number of CCMS users. Despite this, more than 80% of all new civil legal aid applications have been made through CCMS during this time.
A number of fixes have now been applied to the LAA Online Portal and users have seen improved performance as a result.
Our primary aim is to ensure that access to legal aid is available regardless of the method used to apply. We do not want urgent applications to be delayed.
We have increased the transitional period from one week to two weeks in response to feedback about timing and recent portal issues. We hope that this extended period provides a period of stability using the system ahead of mandatory use.
After 1 April, users experiencing significant technical difficulties that prevent submissions through CCMS will have the option of a paper application process for urgent work. This paper alternative or ‘contingency’ will remain available as a back-up throughout the life of the system.
Contingency arrangements and support
Users are expected to exercise reasonable effort when using CCMS to submit applications and only send a paper application when unable to progress the matter using CCMS. Any paper applications will be progressed using CCMS.
Contract managers will be reviewing the nature and volume of contingency paper applications received on a weekly basis and will be speaking to users where there are continued difficulties with CCMS resulting in the need for an urgent paper application.
Updated details of the contingency process are available on the CCMS website.
The following transitional arrangements will apply from 1 April 2016:
- Any new licensed work (and related post certificated work) paper applications dated prior to 8 April 2016 and received by the Legal Aid Agency on or
- before Thursday 14 April 2016 will be processed
- after Friday 15 April 2016 will not be processed and must be resubmitted using CCMS
- In exceptional circumstances, the LAA may permit new licensed work paper applications (and related post certificated work) to be submitted after 8 April 2016.
Exemptions to mandatory usage
The following areas of work are currently exempt from mandatory usage on 1 April:
- applications for associated civil work made by crime providers
- applications made during the out of hours Immigration service
- Exceptional Case Funding applications made directly by clients or by a solicitor not holding a Standard Contract with the Legal Aid Agency.
We are continuing to make improvements to the functionality of CCMS. We are working closely with users and representative bodies in this process. An update of all new functionality will be published this week.
If users have any questions about this article they are advised to speak to their contract manager.
CCMS training remains available – CCMS website
CCMS website contacts – where to go for help