News story

Crime news: online billing for advocates expands northwards

Crime Billing Online to launch in both Northern and North East Bar Circuits for Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme.

National rollout for online billing under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) continues on 14 March 2016 in the Northern and North East Bar Circuits.

The online application has been piloted by advocates and solicitors since October 2015 and has been available to the Midland Circuit since 25 January 2016.

We are continuing to rollout the billing application nationally following the:

  • successful conclusion of the pilot phase
  • initial roll out in the Midland Circuit
  • positive feedback from current users

What happens next?

Chambers and solicitors’ firms in the Northern and North East Circuit areas will be contacted by their contract managers.

They will be given information on:

  • making claims for Crown Court defence work using the online application
  • details of support available to new users

You can find out more information, including a Crime Billing Online FAQ document, on GOV.UK’s legal aid pages – see link below.

Benefits of online billing

  • simplifies AGFS billing, including evidence submissions
  • avoids postal delays
  • reduced postage and printing costs
  • online messaging and instant notifications from processing teams
  • ‘wet signatures’ no longer needed

Future rollout

This is expected to finish by summer 2016 and is based on the Bar Circuits which divide England and Wales into 6 areas.

Keep an eye on e-alerts for information on rollout dates for the remaining circuits i.e. South Eastern, Wales and Chester and Western.

Throughout rollout the Crime Billing Online project will continue to take on board user feedback.

This will help the project to make further refinements to the system in partnership with Ministry of Justice Digital Services.

Further information

Criminal legal aid processing: applications and digital systems – to find out more about crime change and download a ‘Crime Billing Online FAQ’ document – for email enquiries about the project