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Judicial Review Settlement & its Effect on Crime Practitioners

Judicial Review Settlement & its Effect on Crime Practitioners

As an update to our earlier piece on the unified contract, here is the lowdown on what the deal means for criminal practitioners. A number of significant concessions were negotiated during the consultation on the contract and will apply to the tender process for the new 18 month General Criminal Contract, which has just begun:-

  • New Standard Monthly Payment (SMP) arrangements which will result in fewer changes to SMPs. Changes will be much smaller when they happen, and firms will get more notice of the changes. The ‘hard reconciliation’ to the end of the financial year, which was a prime cause of the problems in January, will no longer happen.
  • The right to do remainder work.
  • Minimum 6 month delay in best value tendering (BVT).
  • Review of Cost Assessment Audits (CCA) processes, and a joint working group with the Society to look at CCA audits in future.
  • Review of peer review and quality assurance, and a joint working group, giving an opportunity to act on criminal practitioners’ concerns and influence any changes to the peer review process.
  • The end of the LSC’s right to rewrite existing contracts.
  • The removal of all of the Audit Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) from the contract.
  • ‘Direct Application’ KPI 1 has been amended from a maximum of 10% reduction on assessed claims to 15%.
  • ‘Direct Application’ KPI 2 has been removed (requirement to attend in 50% of police station Panel and Back Up cases).
  • The circumstances in which and extent to which the contract can be amended have been heavily curtailed.
  • Work undertaken by firms now belongs to the firm, not the LSC, as was proposed in the original draft.
  • The clause on indemnities has been re-written to include provisions giving
    suppliers the right to notice of claim, the right to copy documents and the right to have reasonable account taken of suggestions.
  • Duty solicitor requirements (Clause 27) have been completely re-written to clarify the respective obligations of the firm and of the individual solicitor in respect of duty solicitor work. In particular the clause allowing the duty solicitor to act where the client’s own solicitor was awaiting the outcome of a legal aid application has been removed entirely.
  • The financial penalty clauses for late submission of bills have been removed entirely from the contract.

This post was written by:

- who has written 462 posts on Upper Case – The Anya Legal Journal.

Mike Gribbin is a retired Civil Servant with wide experience, including the drafting and implementation of Parliamentary legislation and regulations. He is the editor of “Criminal Offences Handbook”, a uniquely comprehensive guide to more than one thousand ways to fall foul of UK criminal law. He is Editor of the Upper Case Legal Journal and has been writing blog posts for the past eight years.

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