Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response

Details of the Legal Aid Agency’s ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Applies to England and Wales

This page outlines our current response to the outbreak. This is in line with the latest regulations and guidance set out for England and Wales by the UK and Welsh Governments.

You should also read the latest online information on local COVID alert levels for England, and those for Wales. These cover what the current levels are, what they mean and why they are being introduced.

We are also signposting to specific areas of provider work where we are flexing our processes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): processing and payments

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): working with clients

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): contract management and assurance

The arrangements we are outlining will be maintained until the dates specified against each one.

We will publish all exceptions to these operational contingency ways of working, including giving 3 weeks’ notice for restart dates, on a rolling schedule for legal aid providers

Contingency arrangements will be reviewed regularly. Amendments may be necessary, based on wider government advice. We will continue to work closely with other parts of government connected to the provision of legal aid.

These include HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the police, prisons, and immigration removal centres. This is to ensure our contingency arrangements are aligned.

Financial relief

We are consolidating our guidance in this area. You should now refer especially to our ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): processing and payments’ page. You can also download crime ‘hardship payment scenarios’ from the ‘Crown Court fee guidance’ page. These cover work under the:

  • Litigators’ Graduated Fee Schemes (LGFS)

  • Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS)

Specific areas of provider work

Information about ‘remote working’ previously held on a standalone page has now been consolidated into the above pages. You should refer especially to the ‘processing and payments’ page.

Schedule of processes restarting after COVID-19 contingency

Information can be found here on business as usual restart dates and changes to current operational COVID-19 contingency ways of working:

Rolling schedule for legal aid providers

We will also share information with representative bodies to share with their members.

Updates to this page

Published 18 March 2020
Last updated 6 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated content dealing with Legal Aid Agency's current response to COVID-19 pandemic.

  2. Edit amended extension of contingency dates.

  3. Edit to 'suspended time limits for delegated function'.

  4. Amendment to the duty solicitor scheme extension date and removal of emergency certificates and timescales section. Also removal of the police station accredited representatives section.

  5. Additional update to suspended time limits for delegated function, substantive amendments and appeals to add in emergency applications

  6. Additional section updated - Suspended time limits for delegated function, substantive amendments and appeals

  7. Updated review date for duty solicitor absence and removed an out-of-date sentence on reviewing increased submission timescales.

  8. Current contingencies confirmed to be in place until 2021, subject to review and exceptions and revisions listed.

  9. Change of date for the extension of contingency arrangements to 30 September 2020.

  10. Extension of contingency arrangement announced and publication of schedule of processes restarting document.

  11. Updated guidance about funding for Corona Act appeals via the ECF process.

  12. Restructuring of coronavirus (COVID-19) legal aid content to make it simpler to access for GOV.UK users

  13. Additional guidance on Amendments to the Legal Aid: Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 - Evidence requirements for private law family matters guidance and claiming police station attendance fee.

  14. Additional guidance on contingency arrangements for crime claims and quality mark accreditation

  15. Further updates including suspending debt collection of firms who owe LAA money, extension of timescales to submit emergency certificate and rpdate to paying of fees at the face-to-face rate for video hearings.

  16. Updates to DSCC face-to-face claim process, Mental Health Tribunal Level 3 fees and further updates to using digital signatures.

  17. Updated guidance including using digital certificates, civil finance forms, rejecting bill payments, advocacy attendance forms and claiming travel costs

  18. Information on using digital signatures published

  19. First published.

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