Providers using eForms are now being emailed representation orders for successful criminal legal aid applications and refusal notices for failed applications.
But you need to make sure you understand the way the system works to avoid delaying decisions on your applications.
Faster turnaround times
Since changing the representation order process to emails only in August 2016, you should have noticed faster responses when you make an application.
The idea is to give our staff more time to focus on decision-making by saving time on administration. This has been achieved by automating and simplifying different parts of our processes.
Who receives the email?
Representation orders and refusal notices are sent to the email address that is automatically inserted into the CRM14 legal aid application when you submit it.
You can also get the representation order/refusal notice sent to a second email address by inserting this address manually in the ‘firm administrator’ field of the CRM form.
But it is up to you to make sure the email addresses, linked to your eForms user accounts, are accurate and up-to-date.
Unfortunately, we are still receiving a high number of representation order chasers for cases where the documentation has already been emailed.
Responding to this correspondence is taking time away from processing other pieces of work.
What if you have not received a response?
Responses are sent by the Legal Aid Agency directly to the e-mail address used on the CRM14 legal aid application.
If you are not receiving e-mails, it is likely to be either a local issue with your mailbox, or you may have entered the e-mail onto the form incorrectly.
We advise you to ensure your e-mail address is correct on the eForms portal and the correct e-mail address is being automatically inserted into the CRM14 when you make an application.
We also advise that you check your spam or junk mailboxes, as it may be your e-mails are being incorrectly captured in these locations.
Do we always send emails?
There will be exceptional circumstances where the nature of the charge is ‘sensitive’ as defined by the government security classification. Terrorism cases, for instance, fall into this bracket.
For these cases, we will only send a representation order/refusal notice by email if a CJSM email account is in place. Otherwise, we will send it by post.
For ‘not on Libra’ cases we will still be unable to send you a copy of your representation order until the case has been validated on the HM Courts & Tribunals Service Libra system.
If your application falls into this category we will continue to make this clear in the eForms message that is sent to you.
Storing email representation orders
As with the paper version, providers don’t need to keep email representation orders except in certain circumstances.
These circumstances were outlined in a GOV.UK article on 21 June 2016 – see link below.
Providers no longer need to keep copies of rep orders – 21 June news article