MPs legal aid bill

I have just read in the paper that the cost of MPs legal aid bills were "increased substantially after they attempted to avoid criminal proceedings by claiming the ancient right of parliamentary privilege."

I am not sure how that happened since criminal legal aid for solicitors is based on the number of pages served by the prosecution and how many days the trial lasted.  Any legal submission would not have counted toward either the page count or the number of days trial.

Counsel would have received a little more money for the hearings, but I think we are talking in the region of a few hundred pounds rather than "substantial" amounts.


  1. Is there any uplift for complex / unusual areas of law?

  2. You can potentially get paid more if the case falls within the VHCC criteria, which requires there to be more than 10,000 pages of evidence and there to be a complex or novel area of law or fact or for the trial to last more than 42 days. If that happens you agree an individual contract for the work and are paid as you complete each stage of the work. I very much doubt if the MPs cases would fall into that category as they were basic straight forward frauds.

    It used to be possible to claim an uplift of up to 100% of your fee if there was some aspect of the case that justified the same, such as work done in a very short space of time or the case being unusually large and complicated. That no longer exists.

    However, currently you are paid according to a) the number of pages the prosecution serve as evidence (you are not paid for considering all the evidence they serve but do not intend to rely upon, nor are you paid for any of your own evidence, taking instructions from your client or tracing and interviewing defence witnesses... that's all done for free now); b) the number of days the trial lasts; and c) how your client choses to plead, so a guilty plea pays us less than a trial or plea just before trial.


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