DRAFT LETTER

Document Sample
DRAFT LETTER Powered By Docstoc
					To:

Heads of Criminal Chambers Clerks and Practice Managers in Criminal Chambers 19 December 2007

Please distribute this letter to all criminal practitioners in your Chambers

Dear Colleague, VHCC Contracts Members of the Criminal Bar are shortly to be told whether they are to be invited to join the new VHCC Panel. They will be asked by the LSC to sign contracts by 14 th January 2008. The purpose of this letter is to ensure that, before you decide whether to sign such a contract, you are in possession of the facts, and you understand the obligations which you will be undertaking. The choice as to whether to sign is of course yours alone. The interim VHCC scheme will commence on 14th January 2008 for a period of 18 months. We want you to be aware of the following matters in particular before deciding whether to sign the contract proposed by the LSC:  By signing the contract, you will undertake a professional commitment to accept any VHCC case you are offered during the contract period, subject only to the usual rules as to professional availability. The contract will require you to work at the rates laid down for Category 1, 2 and 3 cases. You will not be able to turn down a category 2 or 3 case on the grounds that it is inadequately paid. Very few VHCC cases are expected to be given Category 1 status. Category 1 will be for serious terrorism and exceptionally serious fraud. The vast bulk of VHCC cases will therefore be in Category 2 or 3, with the majority in Category 3. The rate for QCs undertaking Category 1 cases is between £145-155 per hour, the precise rate being the one accepted by the LSC. But the rate for a QC undertaking a category 3 case at bid level 3 will be £91 per hour, and correspondingly less for juniors. A Led Junior doing a category 3 case will be paid between £61 and £65







per hour (depending on what bids the LSC accepts) or £300 per day for advocacy. A table showing the percentage rates for QCs and juniors is attached.   The rates set out are significantly lower than the rates set in June 2004, which were themselves cut in 2005. Once you have signed the contract you will be bound to accept any case offered and to complete it at the contractual rates.

We have been in detailed discussions with the LSC to see whether a better scheme can be created. These discussions are proceeding well, but they will not lead to a suspension of the new scheme. The Bar Council has, throughout, made it clear to the LSC that it regards the design of the new scheme as flawed. It is the Bar Council’s belief that the scheme contains cumulative perverse incentives. The use of hourly rates, taken together with the low level of the rates themselves, could encourage solicitors and barristers to work more hours than strictly necessary. We have repeatedly said that we believe that the scheme will inflate the LSC’s costs, rather than control them. Copies of our submissions dated 22nd February 2007 and 27th March 2007 are on the website at www.barcouncil.org.uk. The Court of Appeal has recently found one part of the Unified Civil Contract entered into by solicitors to be unlawful. As soon as we have seen the draft VHCC contract proposed by the LSC, in the light of the judgment, we will write again to you with our views on it. You need to consider your own position carefully before signing the proposed VHCC contract. We stress, however, that the decision as to whether to sign the contract is one that each individual practitioner must make for him/ herself.

Geoffrey Vos QC Chairman of the Bar Council Timothy Dutton QC Vice-Chairman of the Bar Council Sally O’Neill QC Chair of the Criminal Bar Association David Spens QC Leader of the South Eastern Circuit Simon Bourne-Arton QC Leader of the North Eastern Circuit

Winston Roddick QC Leader of the Wales Circuit Michael Redfern QC Leader of the Northern Circuit Robin Tolson QC Leader of the Western Circuit Peter Joyce QC Leader of the Midlands Circuit

Table of Rates The Base Prices are hourly rates for a QC/ Level A Fee Earner in a Category 1 case and are as follows: £155 per hour £150 per hour £145 per hour. The LSC then stipulates rates as a percentage of the QC rates. We have set out in the table below the proposed rates and the percentage reduction over the current (2005) rates which are themselves a reduction on the 2004 rates. [Note: the LSC’s Response to Consultation Paper April 2007 expresses all rates as a proportion of the QC Category 1 rate, abbreviated in the table as QC/1.]

QC CATEGORY 1

Current rate: QC/1: £160 160

CATEGORY 2

125 78.13% of QC/1

CATEGORY 3/ 4

100 62.5% of QC/1

Proposed rates: bid level 1: £155 155 3.13% reduction on current rate 121 78.13% of QC/1 3.2 reduction on current rate 97 62.5% of QC/1 3% reduction on current rate

Proposed rates: bid level 2: £150 150 6.25% reduction on current rate 117 78.13% of QC/1 6.4% reduction on current rate 94 62.5% of QC/1 6% reduction on current rate

Proposed rates: bid level 3: £145 145 9.38% reduction on current rate 113 78% of QC/1 9.6% reduction on current rate 91 62.5% of QC/1 9% reduction on current rate

Leading Junior CATEGORY 1

Current rate: QC/1: £160 140 87.5% of QC/1

CATEGORY 2

110 68.75% of QC/1

CATEGORY ¾

90 56.25% of QC/1

Bid level 1: QC/1: £155 136 87.5% of QC/1 2.86% reduction on current rate 107 68.75% of QC/1 2.73% reduction on current rate 85 54.75% of QC/1 5.6% reduction on current rate

Bid level 2: QC/1: £150 131 87.5% of QC/1 6.43% reduction on current rate 103 68.75% of QC/1 6.37% reduction on current rate 82 54.75% of QC/1 8.89% reduction on current rate

Bid level 3: QC/1: £145 127 87.5% of QC/1 9.29% reduction on current rate 100 68.75% of QC/1 9.1% reduction on current rate 79 54.75% of QC/1 12.23% reduction on current rate

Led Junior CATEGORY 1

Current rate: QC/1: £160 100 62.5% of QC/1

CATEGORY 2

80 50% of QC/1

CATEGORY 3/4

70 43.75% of QC/1

Bid level 1: QC/1: £155 97 62,5% of QC/1 3% reduction on current rate 78 50% of QC/1 2.5% reduction on current rate 65 42.5% of QC/1 7% reduction on current rate

Bid level 2: QC/1: £150 94 62.5% of QC/1 6% reduction on current rate 75 50% of QC/1 6.25% reduction on current rate 64 42.5% of QC/1 8.58% reduction on current rate

Bid level 3: QC/1: £145 91 62.5% of QC/1 9% reduction on current rate 73 50% of QC/1 8.75% reduction on current rate 61 42.5% of QC/1 12.86% reduction on current rate

Junior alone CATEGORY 1

Current rate: QC/1: £160 110 68.75% of QC/1

CATEGORY 2

90 56.25% of QC/1

CATEGORY 3/4

80 50.00% of QC/1

Bid level 1: QC/1: £155 107 68.75% of QC/1 2.73% reduction on current rate 87 56.25% of QC/1 3.34% reduction on current rate 75 48.5% of QC/1 6.25% reduction on current rate

Bid level 2: QC/1: £150 103 68.75% of QC/1 6.37% reduction on current rate 84 56.25% of QC/1 6.7% reduction on current rate 73 48.5% of QC/1 8.75% reduction on current rate

Bid level 3: QC/1: £145 100 68.75% of QC/1 9.1% reduction on current rate 82 56.25% of QC/1 8.9 % reduction on current rate 70 48.5% of QC/1 12.5% reduction on current rate

2nd led junior CATEGORY 1

Current rate: QC/1: £160 70 43.75% of QC/1

CATEGORY 2

55 34.38% of QC/1

CATEGORY 3

50 31.25% of QC/1

Bid level 1: QC/1: £155 68 43.75% of QC/1 2.86% reduction on current rate 53 34.38% of QC/1 3.64% reduction on current rate 46 29.75% of QC/1 8% reduction on current rate

Bid level 2: QC/1: £150 66 43.75% of QC/1 5.72% reduction on current rate 52 34.38% of QC/1 5.46% reduction on current rate 45 29.75% of QC/1 10% reduction on current rate

Bid level 3: QC/1: £145 63 43.75% of QC/1 10% reduction on current rate 50 34.38% of QC/1 9.1% reduction on current rate 43 29.75% of QC/1 14% reduction on current rate


				
DOCUMENT INFO