The reformed Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) will ensure that pay better reflects the actual work being done by criminal defence advocates and that advocates are being fairly remunerated for work in more complex cases.
The changes will bring the scheme in line with modern practices, taking into account the fact that more and more evidence is submitted electronically.
The process of determining fees will be simplified so that advocates can better understand how they will be paid for their work before they take on a case.
The new scheme is part of ongoing reforms to deliver a modern and effective justice system, whilst ensuring that legal aid is available in cases where it is most needed.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:
These changes will create a simpler and more modern pay system for defence advocates in legal aid-funded criminal cases.
We have listened to the views of legal professionals to ensure that advocates will be paid in a way that better reflects the reality of the work they do.
The government previously consulted on the fee proposals and has taken on feedback from professionals to help shape the scheme.
Significant changes have been made to the original proposals to ensure that the vital contribution of junior barristers and solicitor advocates is better recognised in the new scheme.
The changes will come into effect on 1 April 2018 and will keep spend on fees at the current level, so that the reforms come at no additional cost to the tax payer.
The AGFS consultation response can be found on GOV.UK.