Guidance

Apply to Legal Aid Review Panel

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

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page is no longer relevant as the recruitment exercise has been completed.

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 certain LAA decisions including those relating to claims for costs.

We are looking for solicitors, barristers and Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (FCILEx) to join the panel for a term of up to five years from 1 July 2019.

As an IFA or ICA (or both) you will use your knowledge and expertise to decide appeals against refusal of funding and assessment of costs. We expect to allocate you up to 60 hours of work a year and the appeals sent to you will relate to the areas of law in which you specialise. The volume and complexity of cases will vary. As an IFA or ICA you will normally work alone but exceptionally you may be asked to form a committee of two or more members if warranted by the circumstances of the case.

You will be remunerated at a rate of £52 per hour and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. Panel members are paid through the Judicial Payroll and as they are deemed “office holders” as defined in the relevant revenue law, 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.

Background

In 2013 LAA created a national Review Panel with skill sets matched to the volume and nature of the appeals we expected to receive. We communicate with members about changes in practices and procedures designed to improve consistency of decision-making.

These are public appointments with recommendations to appoint being made by the LAA’s chief executive to the Lord Chancellor.

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.

It is essential to remember that in exercising this public function you must act in accordance with the 7 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 FCILEx, you will:

  • work for an organisation with a contract with the LAA and have a good knowledge of the LAA’s contract, regulations and guidance

  • be a LAA Contract Supervisor in the category/categories where you declare a specialism or be able to demonstrate how you meet the equivalent requirement

  • have a proven record of accurate, timely and successful submissions for funding and claims for costs

As a barrister, you will:

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

  • have a proven record of high-quality advice, advocacy and billing on such cases

  • If you are an employed barrister, you must work for an organisation with a contract with the LAA and have a good knowledge of the LAA’s contract, regulations and guidance

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

  1. crime

  2. debt

  3. education

  4. employment

  5. housing

  6. family

  7. probate and succession

  8. clinical negligence

  9. civil mediation

  10. public law children

  11. mental health

  12. human rights

  13. judicial review

  14. high cost cases

  15. multi-party actions

  16. prison law

  17. immigration

  18. extradition

  19. claims against public authorities

  20. community care

  21. assessment of costs

Generic skills

  • highly effective interpersonal and communications skills including succinct and effective report writing

  • experience of objective decision making against a set of criteria that requires both adherence to rules and the reasonable and impartial exercise of discretion, in circumstances where the facts may be complex and where there may be pressure from individuals in serious personal circumstances and from those representing them

  • 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 with experience of 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.

Timetable

The closing date for applications will be 5pm on 23 April 2019. We will carry out a short-listing process and then conduct telephone interviews. The appointments will be effective from 1 July 2019 for a period of five years.

How to apply

The Withdrawn legal Aid Review Panel application form (MS Word Document, 136KB) has all instructions and contact details. We are also asking candidates to complete a short written Withdrawn review panel exercise (MS Word Document, 30.7KB) along with a Withdrawn diversity monitoring form (MS Word Document, 34.1KB)

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 27 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Extension of deadline to 23 April 2019 for applications to Legal Aid Review Panel

  2. Updated application form

  3. Diversity monitoring form added to page

  4. New recruitment for Legal Aid Review Panel

  5. First published.