Government consults on legal aid bundle payments to family law advocates

Consultation closes on 10th April

The Government needs to revise the current legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme as a result of proposed changes to Practice Direction 27A (PD 27A). 

Currently there is no particular limit on the size of a court bundle. Under the legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme, different payments are made to advocates for interim and final hearings according to the number of pages in the court bundle. More complex cases often involve larger bundles and therefore attract larger bundle payments.

The proposed introduction of a maximum court bundle size of 350 pages, which is expected to be applicable in the majority of cases, will effectively prevent advocates from claiming the current court bundle bolt-on fees and therefore potentially reducing the level of remuneration that advocates might otherwise have received for a case. While this might be justified if the amount of work required was also to reduce, this is unlikely to be the case. The Government has therefore been considering how best to ensure that appropriate remuneration continues to be made to advocates, particularly in complex cases.

The proposals in the consultation, ‘Court bundles – proposed changes to the legal aid Family Advocacy Scheme’ set out the Government’s proposed options to amend the current court bundle bolt on payment schemes.

The consultation document is here.

Article courtesy of Family Law Week