Advocates will be able to claim a new £670 fixed fee from 1 February 2023 which will increase the payment levels for cases with s.28 hearings.
The new fixed fee applies to cases with a representation order dated on or after 1 February.
Guidance on how to claim the new fee is currently being worked on and will be made available on GOV.UK.
What is a s.28 hearing?
Vulnerable or intimidated witnesses are allowed to have their cross-examinations pre-recorded on video ahead of trial, subject to judicial discretion. The video is then played back during the trial, so the witness does not need to be present.
This process is enabled under section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.
Why is this happening now?
The government has responded to representations made following the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid. These were that current fees do not recognise the additional work involved in cases featuring a s.28 hearing.
An additional fixed fee of £670 is being implemented for cases where pre-recorded cross-examination of a witness takes place. A further £4m of funding has been made available to make this possible.
Where can I find out more?
Details of the fixed fee are set out in the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Guidance on how to claim the new fee is being prepared and will be available on GOV.UK in due course.