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CILEX critiques government's criminal legal aid reforms

CILEX critiques government's criminal legal aid reforms


The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) voices concerns over the inadequacy of proposed reforms to criminal legal aid

CILEX criticises the government's response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR), highlighting the failure to address fixed fees' complexity issues. The institute urges for a more realistic rate for pre-charge engagement work and expresses disappointment in the lack of significant changes to the system.

CILEX's response to the Ministry of Justice's Crime Lower consultation underscores the organisation's reservations regarding the proposed adjustments to fee schemes. The institute emphasises the need for a restructuring of the system to better align with the complexity of cases, as recommended by CLAIR.

While acknowledging some progress in reducing regional disparities, CILEX remains critical of the proposed options, citing concerns over fairness to London firms and the overall sustainability of the rates.

Moreover, CILEX advocates for specific considerations and guidance to ensure appropriate cases are flagged for pre-charge engagement work, emphasising the importance of driving cultural change through viable payment rates.

The response also calls for enhanced fees for certain offenses, including indictable-only and triable either way offenses, and advocates for the inclusion of summary offenses in the Youth Court fee scheme.

CILEX expresses disappointment at the decision not to implement CLAIR's recommendation for a standard fee model for prison law advice and Criminal Cases Review Commission matters, urging the Lord Chancellor to seek adequate funding for necessary changes.

CILEX President Emma Davies laments the incremental nature of the proposed reforms, emphasising the need for comprehensive implementation of CLAIR's recommendations to achieve meaningful progress in criminal legal aid.