Criminal Law: Graduated Fees Update!

Criminal Law: Graduated Fees Update!

You may well be aware that the MOJ have introduced cuts to graduated fees for both Litigators and Advocates. They have been disguised as a redraft of the fee schemes and also justified as costs neutral. They are not!


If you practice in legal aid, criminal law you are aware that the entire system is on it’s knees and the only way it can be properly salvaged is by more money being invested in what was once a world leading legal system. A useful article to explain the current state of affairs is here: 

The cut to Litigators fees has resulted in the Law Society issuing Judicial Review proceedings. That is ongoing.

The cut to Advocates fees has resulted in various meetings within Circuits and the CBA made an announcement that is attached. Please take the time to read it if you haven’t already. At present over 60 chambers have publicly announced that they will not be accepting Legal Aid work for Representation orders after the 1st April 2018. has a full list of chambers and it should be updated as and when other chambers make announcements.

The purpose of this email is to find out the views of Solicitors in South Wales. The Criminal Law Solicitors Association has already publicly backed the CBA and it’s likely other practitioner groups will as well.

The CBA understand, of course, that the Bar is not contractually obligated to the LAA in the same was as Solicitors. Therefore for us to down tools would place our legal aid contracts at risk. However, Advocacy work is not contracted in the same way which is why the Bar can take the action they can without fear of the same repercussions. You will recall that the LAA insisted on advocates choice for Defendants in the new contract. Therefore Defendants can not be forced into having an advocate just because their advocate of choice is taking part in the current action.

The Law Society have now issued guidance for firms where counsel is not available:


If you are a firm that undertakes Criminal Legal Aid work can you please consider the following:

  1. Does your firm support the action and the stance taken by the CBA?
  2. Will your firm agree to not instruct alternative Counsel, if Counsel of choice is not available?
  3. Will your firm agree not to instruct in house Higher Court Advocates if Counsel of choice is not available?


To our knowledge affirmative answers to these questions should not place any firm in breach of their legal aid contract. However, as always, each firm must take it’s own advice and come to it’s own informed decision.

Would you kindly take two minutes to email the answers to these questions? Scott is Vice President of the Monmouthshire Law Society and Law Society Criminal Law Committee member so can feed back the stance of solicitors in our area as a whole to the CBA, CLSA and Law Society. No individual firms will be named or publicly announced; simply that the views of Criminal Law firms in our area is: …x…. Reponses and answers were…x,y,z……

We look forward to hearing from you and would encourage you to join the Monmouthshire Incorporated Law Society so that local action and local issues can be better aired and discussed on an ongoing basis. Your local law society can only be as good as the members it has and it’s desire to ensure their members views are represented.  Details of membership can be found here


Scott Bowen

Vice President of the Monmouthshire Law Society and Law Society Criminal Law Committee member