Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Legal Aid Service
244. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the legal aid fees paid to solicitors and barristers in each District Court and Circuit Court area; the reason for the delay in the payment of fees from the time that the application is made for payment of fees to the date that same are paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30776/20]
The Legal Aid Board provides legal advice and aid under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996-2017. Section 3(3) of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 provides that the Board shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be independent in the exercise of its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made. I am advised by the Legal Aid Board that it does not record payments to solicitors and counsel by District Court area or Circuit Court area. I am further informed that the Board has received no details of any suggested delay in processing such payments. The Board requires that all completed counsel fee claim forms are processed for payment in a timely manner in accordance with the prompt payment legislation.
The Board reviews the extent to which this requirement is being met on an ongoing basis. In 2019 the Board reviewed 360 counsel fee claims and found that in the majority of cases claims were processed promptly, many within 2-3 days of receipt. It can happen, due to a variety of circumstances, including incomplete claims, that certain claims can take longer.