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Crime news: avoiding rejects under AGFS

Advice on reducing the number of rejects for claims under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS).

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We need your help to bring down the number of claims being rejected under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS).

This will help us to build on improvements which have already led to reductions in the number of outstanding claims.

These are now at the lowest level since the AGFS team took over responsibility for bill paying.

The majority of AF1s are now being processed within 7 working days with payments being received in 20 working days.

Below are the top 3 areas for claims being rejected and what you can do to avoid this happening.

1. Only Instructed Advocate should claim

The claim will be rejected if the claim is in the name of anyone other than the Instructed Advocate (IA). In practice, this means that for representation orders dated:

  • on or after 5 May 2015 – the instructed advocate is the one attending either the main hearing or the first day of the trial
  • before 5 May 2015 the instructed advocate is the one who attending the plea and case management (PCMH) hearing

2. Check if we require copy of representation order

If the representation order is dated before 1 August 2015 you need to make sure that all pages of the representation order are submitted with your bill.

If the representation order is dated 1 August 2015 onwards the AGFS team will be able to check our systems for these details.

There are some exceptions and you will need to consider whether representation orders still need to accompany your claim. These exceptions are:

  • cases where one defendant has transferred from one provider to another will require copies of both current and initial representation orders
  • cases where the court agrees multiple advocates are required
  • circumstances where the Crown Court retains authority to issue representation orders – breaches, bench warrants, contempt of court and noting brief

3. Claims must be signed by IA before submission

Signature – make sure the claim is signed by the Instructed Advocate before submission.

If you have any queries regarding any of the above use the contact details below.

Further information

Crown Court fee guidance

Claim for criminal legal work under graduated fee schemes

Email: advocates-fee@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

0115 852 6000 (lines open 9am to 1pm)

Published 8 February 2016