Criminal Legal Aid

Case Study: Criminal Legal Aid (Disclosure)

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As of June 2021 criminal defence lawyers in Ireland can claim remuneration under the criminal legal aid scheme for the time spent reviewing disclosure. The claim process is somewhat cumbersome but we are in a position to automate much of the work involved.

Interested?

The Claim Process

Step 1: Application for Prior Sanction

Step 2: Application for Payment

It looks relatively straightforward, right? The reality is that there is quite a bit of work involved.

Step 1: Application for Prior Sanction

The instructing solicitor must submit an application on behalf of all members of the defence team, containing the following information:

  1. Names and role of each member of the team expected to review disclosure;
  2. Full details of the type and volume of disclosure;
  3. Estimate of the total number of hours required by each member;
  4. Identify what material will be reviewed and by whom;
  5. Confirmation that legal aid has been granted for the counsel involved;
  6. Copy of the Legal Aid Certificate.

The form must be signed by the instructing solicitor and must be sent by e-mail, together with supporting documentation, to a specified e-mail address.

Step 2: Application for Payment

The instructing solicitor must submit this application on behalf of all members of the defence team.

Each member of the defence team must send the instructing solicitor an invoice detailing:

  1. What has been reviewed;
  2. The number of hours for each item reviewed;
  3. Total number of hours.

The instructing solicitor must complete the payment application form and submit it with the above documentation, together with a copy of the application form for prior sanction.

Commentary

This is quite an additional administrative burden to place on the instructing solicitor – not just a matter of form filling but also of chasing counsel for invoices. It is likely that there would also be administrative time spent (i) assessing the type and volume of disclosure, (ii) determining who is going to review what, and (iii) estimating the time that will be taken to review.

Automating the Process

Step 1: Application for Prior Sanction

We’ve built a simple form that quickly collects the required information and can instantly deliver a completed document bundle to the instructing solicitor (and offers an option to instantly send a signed copy to the Criminal Legal Aid Unit).

You can preview the form here.

Step 2: Application for Payment

No further inputs are required. The system automatically generates pre-populated invoices on behalf of each member of the legal team, together with a completed payment application form.

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