Guidance

Schedule of processes restarting after COVID-19 contingency

Information on business as usual restart dates and changes to current operational COVID-19 contingency ways of working.

Applies to England and Wales

A directory of legal aid ways of working and processes which have resumed operation following suspension during the coronavirus outbreak is set out below.

Guidance on how we are working with representative bodies to flex our operational approach to supporting the legal aid sector is available on our contingency response page

Operational processes resuming

Processes returning to operation, and the dates they come back into force are listed on this page. These updates have been shared with representative bodies. We will continue to work with stakeholders to restart business as usual operations.

Live measures

Website page Contingency area Date started Last updated Maintained until at least
1 Processing and payments Provider claims for private transport costs March 2020 24 September 2021 30 September 2021 – reverting to pre-Covid process 1 October
2 Processing and payments 100% payment of Family Advocacy Scheme (FAS) July 2020 24 September 2021 30 September 2021 – reverting to pre-Covid process 1 October
3 Processing and payments Inquests and one-off billing of work in progress March 2020 16 March 2021 31 March 2022
4 Working with clients Tailored approach to means assessments (civil and crime) in line with the government-backed furlough and self-employment support schemes March 2020 24 September 2021 30 September 2021 – reverting to pre-Covid process 1 October
5 Working with clients Accept applications with digital signatures and guidance where no signature is obtained March 2020 15 June 2021 Retained until further notice in line with isolation requirements
6 Working with clients Application evidence requirements: allow photographed or scanned evidence as well as no evidence where this is agreed with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) March 2020 16 March 2021 Retained until further notice in line with isolation requirements
7 Contract management and assurance Guidance for crime duty solicitor engagement and CRM12 duty rota March 2020 24 September 2021 30 September 2021 – reverting to pre-Covid process 1 October
8 Contract management and assurance Temporary COVID-19 Standards to apply in relation to where supervision and/or office requirements cannot be met due to COVID-19. March 2020 17 November 2021 Retained until at least 14 January 2022
9 Contract management and assurance Permit Pre-Quality Mark Audits as part of the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) accreditation process March 2020 17 November 2021 Retained until at least 14 January 2022
10   Claim the police station fixed fee when providers have attended remotely rather than in person where the matter is dealt with under the agreed National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)/Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)/defence interview protocol March 2020 4 October 2021 Presumption now for attendances to be face to face – in exceptional circumstances, they can still be conducted remotely, in line with protocol

Permanent changes

Website page Contingency area Date started Last updated Maintained until at least
1 Electronic submission of paper bills – Quick Guide Civil cost appeals made electronically for paper claims March 2020 15 June 2021 New permanent process from 20 June 2021
2 Processing and payments 80% Payment On Account (POA) claims July 2020 15 June 2021 Permanent change
3 EC-CLAIM 1 escape fee case claim form Controlled work escape case claims submitted electronically March 2020 15 June 2021 New permanent process introduced 20 June 2021
4   Claim costs for setting up video links with clients in prison March 2020 15 June 2021 Permanent change

Business as usual

Contingency area Date started Last updated Maintained until at least
1 Suspension of usual process of sending demand letters to providers March 2020 15 June 2021 30 June 2021
2 100% payment of paper bills on Payment On Account (POA) basis 28 April 2021 15 June 2021 20 June 2021
3 Claims for CRM18 and 18a to be submitted electronically using SFE March 2020 15 June 2021 Reverted to pre-Covid process – 30 June 2021
4 CRM7 claims covering non-standard fee magistrates’ court claims and appeals were able to be made electronically March 2020 16 March 2021 Reverted to pre-Covid process – 31 July 2020
5 Suspension of time limits for delegated functions, applications, substantive amendments and appeals; and increase of time limit on certificates to 12 weeks March 2020 16 March 2021 Reverted to pre-Covid process on 31 October 2020
6 Civil Legal Advice (CLA) operating reduced hours service March 2020 16 March 2021 Reverted to business as usual (BAU) on 1 October 2020
7 Reverted to standard deadlines for assessments for probationary police station accredited representatives March 2020 16 March 2021 Reverted to pre-Covid process on 2 November 2020
8 Pay for remote video remand hearings at the same rate as face-to-face hearings March 2020 31 March 2021 This was allowed pre-Covid and remains in place
9 Position on mental health Designated Accredited Representatives (DARs) – although we are not taking contract action where COVID-19 impacts compliance we expect providers to discuss the position with their contract manager as usual March 2020 24 September 2021 Reverted to pre-COVID approach 1 September 2021

Future changes

Wherever possible we will give 3 weeks’ notice of any other changes.

Stay up to date

If you have any questions about your contract, talk to your contract manager. We are monitoring the situation and will update any changes to operational guidance in the first instance on our digital channels:

Published 24 June 2020
Last updated 17 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Extension of COVID-19 temporary standards for supervision and office requirements and SQM contingency until 14 January 2022. This follows contract changes on 1 November 2021.

  2. Protocol updated on police station interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. Updates to content on mental health designated accredited representatives moving to business as usual and end dates for supervision standards and Specialist Quality Mark accreditation.

  4. Updates to schedule of processes restarting after COVID-19 contingency

  5. COVID-19 contingency restarts in line with Government roadmap.

  6. Updated following the UK Government’s decision to delay Step 4 of the roadmap to 19 July 2021 at the latest.

  7. Updated dates for the Payments On Account and Family Advocacy Scheme.

  8. Updated office and supervision section in line with the Temporary COVID-19 Standards.

  9. Edit to amend table with latest extension dates.

  10. Edit to include table of contingencies table and migrate information to separate contingency pages.

  11. Edit to suspended time limits for delegated function section to correct information.

  12. Edit to include a line on SQM audit.

  13. Updated 1 September with additional information on contingency arrangements.

  14. Updated restart: From 1 October Civil Legal Advice has resumed business as usual hours: 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12.30pm Saturday.

  15. Additional restarts added for November.

  16. SQM audits re-start from 1 September, CRM18 changes added to "Forthcoming changes" section.

  17. First published.