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Billing Issues on Criminal Legal Aid Work: A rising concern

  • Datalaw Admin
  • Apr 9, 2019
  • 0 comment(s)

In recent times, there has been a rising issue in the United Kingdom on how law enforcement officers especially police are billing criminal legal aid work. First, let’s take a brief look at how the billing of legal aid work has evolved and the influence of the police on the billing.

Legal aid work which is based on the ideology that everyone should have equality before the law, right to justice and a fair trial and to achieve this goal it cost a total of £2 billion in 2009 and over the years the funding has reduced to about £950m in 2012. As at last year, there was a £6.5m drop in the funding of criminal legal aid which begs the question what does the future of a criminal solicitor hold when the funding is inversely proportional to inflation – increment in expenses. In brief, the issue that criminal solicitors working under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) are being challenged with there little or no funding to adequately represent criminals that fall under the legal aid.

Between the means and order tests to check if an alleged offender is eligible for legal aid, they are either appointed criminal solicitors or they get a criminal legal aid provider. All this process takes place in the Police station where the alleged offender stays and can be given a criminal solicitor or the Magistrate court where the criminal solicitor applies for the legal aid. Due to the shortage in the fund for criminal solicitors, especially the ones working under the LASPO Act, they left with no option but to charge alleged offender or criminal some cash for their services. It is believed that they do this as a means for survival due to adequate funding of this sector. It can sometimes go as far as criminal solicitors billing police station work and/or billing magistrate court work. In most cases, based on an agreement between the solicitor and their client, they choose either to pay before or after securing the legal aid. Some criminal solicitors also cut dispelled funds for running for legal aid case for personal gains. This begs the question, is criminal billing of in legal aid work right or wrong? 

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