The Legal Aid Agency is seeking solicitors, barristers and Fellows of the CILExs to join their panel – 100 vacancies
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has a panel of Independent Funding Adjudicators (IFAs) and Independent Costs Assessors (ICAs). The Panel considers appeals against certain LAA decisions including those relating to claims for costs.
We are looking for solicitors, barristers and Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (FCILEx) to join the panel for a term of up to five years from 1 July 2019.
As an IFA or ICA (or both) you will use your knowledge and expertise to decide appeals against refusal of funding and assessment of costs. We expect to allocate you up to 60 hours of work a year and the appeals sent to you will relate to the areas of law in which you specialise. The volume and complexity of cases will vary. As an IFA or ICA you will normally work alone but exceptionally you may be asked to form a committee of two or more members if warranted by the circumstances of the case.
Panel members are not employees of the LAA. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as or taken to create an offer of contract of employment between yourself and LAA.
As a solicitor or FCILEx, you will:
- work for an organisation with a contract with the LAA and have a good knowledge of the LAA’s contract, regulations and guidance; and
- be a LAA Contract Supervisor in the category/categories where you declare a specialism or be able to demonstrate how you meet the equivalent requirements; and
- have a proven record of accurate, timely and successful submissions for funding and claims for costs.
As a barrister, you will:
- handle regular legal aid work in the area(s) of law where you have declared a specialism; and
- have a proven record of high-quality advice, advocacy and billing on such cases.
- If you are an employed barrister, you must work for an organisation with a contract with the LAA and have a good knowledge of the LAA’s contract, regulations and guidance.
You will need to be able to consider appeals in one or more of the following areas of law:
- probate and succession
- clinical negligence
- civil mediation
- public law children
- mental health
- human rights
- judicial review
- high cost cases
- multi-party actions
- prison law
- claims against public authorities
- community care
- assessment of costs
- Highly effective interpersonal and communications skills including succinct and effective report writing.
- Experience of objective decision making against a set of criteria that requires both adherence to rules and the reasonable and impartial exercise of discretion, in circumstances where the facts may be complex and where there may be pressure from individuals in serious personal circumstances and from those representing them.
- Understanding of and commitment to the Seven Principles of Public Life and to the practising of equality and diversity.We will prefer candidates with experience of legal decision making, candidates with judicial appointments and those who are actively involved in the assessment of costs to a high standard.Use personal and professional skills, experience and judgement with the highest standards of integrity and honesty in decision-making.
We will prefer candidates with experience of legal decision making, candidates with judicial appointments and those who are actively involved in the assessment of costs to a high standard.
What we expect of you
Use personal and professional skills, experience and judgement with the highest standards of integrity and honesty in decision-making.
In 2013 LAA created a national Review Panel with skill sets matched to the volume and nature of the appeals we expected to receive. We communicate with members about changes in practices and procedures designed to improve consistency of decision making.
These are public appointments with recommendations to appoint being made by LAA’s Chief Executive to the Lord Chancellor.
Much of the information that you will see as a Review Panel member will be subject to confidentiality provisions but may be disclosed by the LAA along with your notes or other appeal documents.
It is essential to remember that in exercising this public function you must act in accordance with the Seven Principles of Public Life set out below. Every decision you make will need to be properly justified with appropriate reasons.
LAA and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have agreed an indemnity for Review Panel members in carrying out their functions, provided they have acted honestly and in good faith. LAA will determine the applicability of the indemnity according to the facts of any particular case.
Work is allocated according to business need and most appeals are considered by panel members individually in their own homes or offices. Very occasionally a panel member might certify a case as being suitable for an oral hearing in which case three panel members would have to come into the office – normally 102PF but these instances are rare.
You will be remunerated at a rate of £52 per hour and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. Panel members are paid through the Judicial Payroll and as they are deemed “office holders” as defined in the relevant revenue law, the Agency is required to pay basic rate income tax and National Insurance contributions on all payments to panel members.
For further information and application details, please click here.