Legal Aid

LSC publishes guidance on changes in funding arrangements following abolition of committals.

PUBLISHED May 24, 2012

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Commencement No. 28 SavingProvisions) Order 2012 was laid before Parliament on 23 May 2012.This Order has the effect of abolishing committal proceedings in certain local justice areas from 18 June 2012.

The Criminal Defence Service (Funding) Order 2007 has alsobeen amended to include provisions for payment of either way cases which, as aresult of the revised process, can no longer be discontinued or withdrawn at acommittal hearing.

With the abolition of committal proceedings in these localjustice areas, it will no longer be possible for a case to be discontinued orwithdrawn at the committal hearing.  The Crime Contract, Specification,Part B, Paragraph 10.91 currently provides that Category 3 Fees may only be claimedin circumstances where "a case is discontinued or withdrawn at the committal hearing?.

For either way cases that proceed to Crown Court without acommittal hearing and are then discontinued or withdrawn, the FundingOrder amendments enable this work to be remunerated in the same wayas indictable only cases under both the Litigators? Graduated FeeScheme and the Advocates? Graduated Fee Scheme.

Whilst the contract provision is no longer applicable fornew cases in those local justice areas, the provision remains necessary as longas any local justice areas retain committal proceedings . The LSC has confirmed that it doesnot intend to make any changes to the Standard Crime Contract 2010regarding Category 3 Standard Fees until committal proceedings are abolished inall local justice areas.

The LSC has published the attached guidance on its website highlighting the changes in procedure and funding arrangements made bythe CJA Order and CDS Funding Order.