Legal aid solicitors are being urged to log in to an upgraded online government portal immediately to avoid causing system crashes that could result in delayed payments.
The Legal Aid Agency's portal is required by practitioners to access the client and cost management system, contracted work and administration, crown court litigator fee claims, management information and eForms.
The agency has confirmed that since the upgrade was successfully completed, nearly 11,000 users have logged into the portal, which is accessible to 50,000 users. A spokesperson told the Gazette that the upgrade 'will ensure our users benefit from improved security, stability, quicker log in times, and a performance status bar'.
The agency expects the 11,000 figure to continue to rise. However, the director of a law cost draftsman specialising in criminal and family billing, has urged those who have yet to log in to the portal to do so immediately to update their security information.
Users must provide answers to four security questions on their first log in.
Kent-based I G Legal has more than 30 log ins to the agency's digital platforms, including the portal. Its director, Ivan Goodsell, found resetting each log in 'has been a bit of a chore'. But next week could be a 'major test' for the system, he warned, with practitioners expected to use the system to upload their CWA submissions before the 20 September deadline.
Goodsell said: 'Potentially lots of users will find they have to reset their passwords to be able to log in and upload their submissions. It would be advisable for anyone who has yet to reset their passwords to do so to avoid any issues on the 20th.'
Should practitioners be unable to upload their submissions by the deadline, their monthly payment could be delayed.