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Legal Profession: Payments

Justice written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average length of time a member of the publicly-funded criminal bar waits for payment of invoiced funds; and what the longest length of time such a member has had to wait for payment in the last three years.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Central records relating to the Advocate Graduated Fee Scheme do not allow the average time of payment to be easily calculated, and this could be done only at disproportionate cost. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) processed 90% of invoices under this scheme within 30 working days last year. The following table shows equivalent figures since 2011-12.

Financial year Published KPI Performance against KPI
2011-12 95% in 40 working days 75%
2012-13 90% in 30 working days 94%
2013 to date 90% in 30 working days 96%

From 1 July 2013 our target has tightened further to 90% in 25 working days. Since the beginning of July 2013, LAA are currently processing the majority of claims at 23 days, so are within the revised target.

Figures on the longest length of time taken to process closed claims could be generated only at disproportionate cost. However, the oldest dates for payment of cases awaiting processing are as follows. There will be instances when we require further information, as a bill needs further scrutiny to ensure we are using taxpayers' money appropriately. This is entirely the correct thing to do.

On 3 July 2011, the oldest claim awaiting processing was dated 21 February 2011

On 1 July 2012, the oldest claim awaiting processing was dated 8 February 2012

On 4 July 2013, the oldest claim awaiting processing was dated 2 April 2013.

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