News story

Crime news: tips to speed up advocates’ applications

Advocates and clerks help us develop guidance to prevent delays.

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We’ve been working with advocates and clerks on how to reduce bill rejects so that you can be paid more quickly for the work you do.

More than 10,500 Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) claims are received every month with around 90% paid within 14 days.

If you look at the tips below for successful billing, we can work together to reduce the remaining claims which are being rejected. In September 2014 this stood at 11.1%.

Top tips

Instructed advocate – we have produced a guidance document to help you understand the checks we make before validating your claim. This is available on GOV.UK – see link below. We can make these checks more quickly if you tell us when the effective plea and case management hearing (PCMH) took place. We can then use the date to cross-reference against information from the court.

Representation order – make sure you provide the original representation order when submitting the bill. It is also essential to provide this if there is a change in legal aid. You should note that the Crown Court will only issue representation orders in these circumstances:

  • breach of a Crown Court order where there is no time to instruct a litigator e.g. application for legal aid is made on the day of the hearing
  • execution of a bench warrant and any proceedings incidental to this
  • contempt in the face of the court
  • additional counsel – e.g. QC and junior

Signature – your form should have the original signature of the instructed advocate only.

Incomplete form – make sure the form has been fully completed.

Under-claiming – your bill needs to be submitted with the correct case type and offence class.

Incorrect rejects?

E-mail our priority reject mailbox if you think we have made a mistake rejecting your bill – see below.

This inbox is only available where no assessment has been made.

Further information

Instructed advocate guidance – to download guidance documentation

Email to query a bill reject

Published 3 November 2014