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Legal aid changes for online immigration appeals “will do irreparable harm”

By May 19, 2020National News

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) says that adjustments to legal aid rates will deter lawyers from taking on the most complex cases and push already cash-strapped legal aid firms out of business.

The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, (opens in a new tab) published on 18th May, sets a new legal aid fee for appeals lodged online through the “core case data” platform, or CCD. The President of the First-tier Tribunal, Michael Clements, wants most appeals to be filed via CCD during the pandemic.

The standard fixed fee for a case lodged through CCD will now be £627 for an asylum case, or £527 for a non-asylum case. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) says that this has major implications for cases that settle before a full hearing — which CCD is specifically designed to encourage.

Lawyers can, roughly speaking, charge a more commercially viable hourly rate once their work on a case exceeds three times the value of the fixed fee. At the moment, the fixed fee is £227, so only £681 worth of work is required before hourly rates can be claimed. With a higher fixed fee, hourly rates can’t be charged until much more work has gone into the case — £1,881 for an asylum case (i.e. three times the new standard fee of £627).

You can read the full statement from the ILPA here (opens in a new tab)

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