Understanding Graduated Fees for Counsel and Clerks

The Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) and the Litigators’ Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) are the legal aid fee schemes for Crown Court cases. Richard Wright, the Chambers Administrator at St Pauls Chambers has provided a free online resource to all currently available Criminal Advocate Graduated Fees regulations, Family Advocacy Scheme and Family Graduated Fee Scheme regulations.

Defence Graduated Fees

Processing, validation and payment of most claims under the Advocates’ Graduated Fees Scheme (AGFS) is carried out by the LAA. The following claims, however, should be sent to the National Taxing Team at HMCTS:

  • Proceeds of Crime Act claims involving more than 50 pages of evidence.
  • Claims where you believe that the fixed fee normally payable for an appeal or a committal for sentence / breach is not appropriate and that the determining officer should instead allow reasonable remuneration

All AGFS claims submitted to the LAA will need to be submitted digitally with the relevant supporting evidence. The Instructed Advocate is responsible for drawing up and submitting the AF1 to the LAA as set out in the Funding Order. Where the identity of the instructed advocate is disputed, the Advocate must provide evidence to the LAA to confirm their status in the form of:

  • A copy of the letter to the court

Or

  • A copy of a letter signed by all advocates in the case agreeing the nominated person as Instructed Advocate.

As of May 2015 the Instructed Advocate status (when in dispute) is always confirmed as the counsel who attended the Main Hearing on the case. This amendment only applies to Legal aid Orders dated after 5th May 2015.

More information can be found here.

Family Advocacy Fees

The Family Advocacy Scheme replaced the Family Graduated Fee Scheme in May 2011, and amended the scheme covers fees in the FPC, County and High Courts without the need to obtain prior authority. The LAA are currently trialling paperless billing in the North East Region which will negate the need for paper bills to be raised and allow online monitoring of bills. The full provisions of the scheme are set out in the Community Legal Service and in section 7 of the 2012 Standard Civil Contract. It applies to applications for funding made on or after 9 May 2011 in accordance with paragraph 7.28 of the Family Specification. For cases started prior to that date, previous guidance including that on the Family Graduated Fee Scheme will continue to apply. Family Advocacy and Graduated Fee Claim Forms can be found here.

Prosecution Graduated Fees

The Prosecution Graduated Fees Scheme (GFS) was introduced on 29th October 2001 and revised in October 2005. The revised scheme applied to all cases committed, transferred or sent to the Crown Court on or after 3rd October 2005. On 1st March 2012 a revised scheme was introduced and amended as of the 5th February 2018 to reflect small changes to processing and court processes.

More information can be found here.

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