Bar Council working group re-designs AGFS model

1 October 2015

Bar Council working group re-designs AGFS model

A Bar Council working group has today put forward to the Ministry of Justice a completely re-drawn graduated fee scheme for advocacy in Crown Court cases.

For legally aided criminal defence cases in the Crown Court where the trial is expected to last between 1 to 60 days, the defence advocate is paid by a formula in the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS).

The Bar Council's Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) Working Group, made up of Bar representatives from every Circuit at all levels of seniority, and the Criminal Bar Association, has been working for the last year to design a new scheme structure, which includes:

  • The abolition of pages of prosecution evidence as the principal determinant of the level of fee

  • Restoration of separate payments for sentences, Plea and Case Management Hearings and other ancillary hearings

  • The abolition of the number of witnesses as a determinant of the fee;

  • Daily payments tailored to reflect and reward the skill and experience of advocates across the categories and bands of cases

  • The creation of a single standard case category into which a significant number of basic cases will fall, and

  • A fair and permanent mechanism for reviewing of the operation of this Scheme.

Chairman of the Bar, Alistair MacDonald QC, said:

"The last substantial revision of the Scheme was in 2007. Since then, there have been many changes, such as the increased use of electronic evidence, a new Scheme is therefore required. The Bar Council working group has designed a new scheme.  This is designed to replace the current AGFS, rewarding skill, experience and the level of responsibility in each case in the Crown Court.

"The working group's proposals are designed to operate within the Ministry of Justice's existing AGFS budget. They reflect both the Bar's and the Ministry of Justice's shared objectives of ensuring quality, certainty and simplicity."

Barristers wishing to comment on the draft Scheme can send their comments to Adrian Vincent, Head of Policy: Remuneration and Employed Bar AVincent@BarCouncil.org.uk.

Please click here to read a summary of the draft scheme.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 andPress@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

3. The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board