The Legal Aid Agency wants feedback on its Covid-19 contingency measures after deciding to extend nearly all of them until spring.
The agency is asking providers to tell them how emergency measures for supervision and office requirements have been used.
Virtually all Covid-19 contingency measures have been extended to 31 March. Contingencies for supervision and office requirements have been extended to 31 January and will be reviewed in terms of what they should look like from February.
The agency’s contingency response has been continuously updated since it first appeared last March. The last update was posted on 22 December, when the agency said revised arrangements for duty solicitor absences will apply until at least March 2021 and removed a section on emergency certificates. The agency says it is ready to return to pre-Covid time limits for emergency applications.
Practitioners have until 11 January to complete the survey. ‘The LAA is asking all providers with a legal aid contract to complete the survey, whether they have made use of the contingency arrangements or not, so that a complete picture can be built up,’ the agency said.
The Law Society welcomed the agency's decision to extend virtually all Covid-19 contingency measures until 31 March.
David Greene, Society president, said: 'As the virus spreads and lockdown measures tighten once again, it is imperative such arrangements remain in place for legal aid firms, which were struggling to survive pre-pandemic and are in even choppier waters now.
'We urge members to take part in the survey now being conducted by the LAA in relation to contingency arrangements for supervision and office requirements to enable it to have a better understanding of the situation firms are facing.'