Section 1: Background and the Operation of the Panel
This report sets out the range of evidence and information considered by the Panel, the key issues raised, conclusions reached by the group and recommendations made in line with the remit and objectives. Please refer to Annex A for Panel member biographies and a table of attendance throughout the meetings thus far. The Panel remit, terms of reference, and expected outcomes of the Panel are encompassed within the annex, all of which were agreed at the first meeting. Also included within the annex is a breakdown of meeting discussions, papers and presentations.
The Panel also suggests actions that could be taken to improve the current system of payment and how to build the evidence needed to develop an evidence guided process to fee setting and payment reviews in the future. It should be noted that these discussions took place in a pre-Covid context, and adjustments have been made to this report to take account of the impact of Covid-19, where appropriate.
Remit of Panel
To assess and agree an evidence guided process and methodology that would underpin a future review of payment structures and fee levels for legal services provided by solicitors and advocates to assisted persons. To provide advice to the Minister on options.
The panel heard presentations on the current status of legal aid funding in Scotland, as well as comparisons with other jurisdictions and areas of publicly funded work. Details of these were made publicly available via the Legal Aid Payment Advisory Panel webpage.