News story

Crime news: online advocates’ billing now available nationwide

National rollout of online billing under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme is now complete.

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Online billing under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) is now available across England and Wales with encouraging feedback from users.

The South East Circuit was the final one to come on board on 9 May with the online billing application called ‘Crown Court Defence’ (CCD).

The CCD application has been rolled out on a circuit by circuit basis since January 2016 and piloted since October 2015.

User feedback

Examples of comments from current users include:

  • “The speed that claims are turned around is an obvious benefit to Counsel. After one or two small niggles in the early days we have settled into a very comfortable relationship.” – Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester
  • “Being able to review the claims that have been submitted online is extremely helpful to Chambers as it allows us to see payments are due and the progression of our claims.” – 25 Bedford Row, London
  • “We submit at least 80% of our bills this way, and our bills are usually paid up to 5 days earlier than by submitting a paper version. Some aspects are quite time consuming, but whenever we have made improvement suggestions, the LAA have endeavoured to help.” – No.1 High Pavement Chambers, Nottingham
  • “The CDD system has proved to be much quicker than the standard paper billing process. It is very easy to understand, and the redetermination feature is particularly good.” – Tuckers Solicitors, National All your feedback has been important for improving the system and we will continue to evaluate what you say to make further refinements.

More users every day

Latest figures show that:

  • more than 9,000 AGFS bills have been successfully submitted and processed online, with more users signing up every day
  • usage continues to increase with 26% of advocate bills submitted via CCD in May 2016 – up from 17% in April Online billing for LGFS

LAA and MOJ Digital Services have also started IT development to enable litigators to submit Litigator Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) claims online through the CCD application.

A provider pilot was run during May and further information will follow in the future.

Third party case management systems

The project team is keen to ensure that online billing works well with all case management systems. All users are encouraged to register their interest in integrating CDD with other systems by contacting their software vendors.

Further information

Criminal legal aid processing: applications and digital systems – to find out more about online AGFS billing and download a ‘Crown Court Defence FAQ’ document

crowncourtdefence@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk – for email enquiries about the Crime Billing Online project

Published 8 June 2016