Apply to Legal Aid Review Panel

We are looking for exceptional solicitors, barristers and FCILEx with legal aid experience to join the Legal Aid Review Panel.

Applies to England and Wales

The role

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has a panel of Independent Funding Adjudicators (IFAs) and Independent Costs Assessors (ICAs). The panel considers appeals against LAA decisions including those relating to the refusal of funding and where claims for costs have been disallowed.

We are looking for solicitors, barristers, Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and Costs Lawyers to join the panel for a term of up to five years from early 2021.

You can choose whether to apply for the role of IFA or ICA or both (only the ICA role is relevant to Costs Lawyers). Panel membership is conducive to flexible working as most decisions are taken by a panel member on their own at a time that is best for them. But, exceptionally, you might be asked to form a committee of 2 or more members if warranted by the circumstances of the case.

Civil practitioners might also be interested in joining our sub panel, the Special Controls Review Panel (SCRP) which considers appeals in high cost and/or complex cases, some of which are high profile. These appeals are considered in committee, normally as a telephone or video conference. A current panel member and joint SCRP chair comments:

Membership of SCRP has undoubtedly improved my practice experience and skills in reviewing numerous substantial and complex cases. I now feel more confident in dealing with such cases myself in my own practice.

I would recommend it to any practitioner who has already the experience and skills to deal with such cases and wants to take their skills forward to a higher level

Review Panel Chair

Applications are also invited for the role of Review Panel Chair and for the role of Chair of the Special Controls Review Sub-Panel. These roles may include dealing with any issues or disputes involving individual panel members. The roles also include liaising with senior members of the LAA to review the effectiveness of the panel overall.

Anyone appointed to the role of SCRP Chair will also be required to chair the majority of the SCRP meetings, which involves directing the discussion on individual cases, trying to get the members to reach a consensus, and agreeing and drafting a report to send to the LAA and to the appellant.

We will allocate appeals according to the specialisms you have declared. Volumes will vary according to the category of law but we will always contact first you before allocating appeals to ensure you are able to consider them within the required timeframe.

Much of the information that you will see as a Review Panel member will be subject to confidentiality provisions but may be disclosed by the LAA along with your notes or other appeal documents. We provide training and induction for new panel members.


You will be remunerated at a rate of £52 per hour and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. These are public appointments with recommendations to appoint being made by the LAA’s Chief Executive to the Lord Chancellor. Panel members are paid through the Judicial Payroll. The Agency is required to pay basic rate income tax and National Insurance contributions on all payments to panel members.

Panel members are not employees of the LAA. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as or taken to create an offer of contract of employment between yourself and LAA.

It is essential to remember that in exercising this public function you must act in accordance with the Seven Principles of Public Life set out below. Every decision you make will need to be properly justified with appropriate reasons.

The LAA and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have agreed an indemnity for Review Panel members in carrying out their functions, provided they have acted honestly and in good faith. The LAA will determine the applicability of the indemnity according to the facts of any particular case.

Essential criteria

As a solicitor or CILEx Fellow, you will be expected to:

  • work for an organisation with a contract with the LAA or have done so within the past two years

  • demonstrate a good knowledge of the LAA’s contracts, regulations and guidance

  • evidence your commitment to training and development

  • have a current practising certificate

As a barrister, you will:

  • handle regular legal aid casework in the area(s) of law where you have declared a specialism

  • demonstrate a good knowledge of the LAA’s contract, regulations and guidance

  • evidence your commitment to training and development

  • have a current practising certificate

As a cost lawyer, you will be expected to have a:

  • regular involvement in the preparation of claims in legal aid cases

  • good knowledge of the LAA’s contracts, regulations and guidance

  • current practising certificate from the Cost Lawyer Standards Board

You will need to be able to consider appeals in one or more of the following areas of law:

  1. claims against public authorities

  2. community care

  3. crime

  4. debt

  5. discrimination

  6. education

  7. employment

  8. extradition

  9. family

  10. high cost cases

  11. housing

  12. human rights

  13. immigration

  14. judicial review

  15. mediation

  16. mental health

  17. multi-party actions

  18. prison law

  19. probate and succession

  20. public law children

  21. assessment of costs in the above categories

Generic skills

  1. Highly effective interpersonal and communications skills including succinct and effective report writing.

  2. Experience of objective decision-making against a set of criteria that requires both adherence to rules and the reasonable and impartial exercise of discretion. This includes circumstances where the facts may be complex. There may also be pressure from individuals in serious personal circumstances and from those representing them.

  3. Understanding of and commitment to the 7 Principles of Public Life and to the practising of equality and diversity.

Desirable criteria

We will prefer candidates who can evidence effective legal decision-making, candidates with judicial appointments and those who are actively involved in the assessment of costs to a high standard.

What we expect of you

Use personal and professional skills, experience and judgment with the highest standards of integrity and honesty in decision-making.


Applications must be received by 23:59 on 1 November 2020. We will carry out a short-listing process and then conduct interviews. The appointments will be effective from early 2021 for a period of up to five years.

How to apply

  1. The Legal Aid Review Panel application form (PDF, 324 KB, 16 pages) has further instructions and contact details.

  2. A short written exercise needs to be completed if you wish to apply for any of the following roles:

We are also asking candidates to complete a short written Diversity monitoring form (PDF, 198 KB, 7 pages)

If you want to use the form-filling feature in the documents above then you will need to downoad and save the files to your computer. You should then open the files using Adobe Reader DC.

7 Principles of Public Life :

  1. Selflessness – holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

  2. Integrity – holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisation that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

  3. Objectivity – in carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

  4. Accountability – holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

  5. Openness – holders of public office should be as open as possible about all decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when wider public interest clearly demands.

  6. Honesty – holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

  7. Leadership – promoting the above principles by example and leadership.

Published 16 March 2016
Last updated 13 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. The Legal Aid Agency has opened a recruitment exercise for solicitors, barristers, Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and Costs Lawyers to join the Legal Aid Review Panel for a term of up to five years from early 2021.

  2. Extension of deadline to 23 April 2019 for applications to Legal Aid Review Panel

  3. Updated application form

  4. Diversity monitoring form added to page

  5. New recruitment for Legal Aid Review Panel

  6. First published.