The electronic system to apply for criminal legal aid is nearing the end of ‘beta’ stage. The Legal Aid Agency is keen to be prepared for the compulsory digital structure for solicitors and ensure a stress free transition with minor impact to claimants.
The agency’s agenda to transfer criminal applications and billing online will mean paper submissions will no longer be accepted after the 4 July 2016 deadline. Any applications by solicitors will have to be made through the CRM14 eForm.
The expected plan
On 4 July, it is planned for the online system to be down from 19.00 until 9.00 the following day. This is to allow the Legal Aid Agency to implement six ‘enhancements’.
After the dedicated modifications, applications which previously were accepted on paper forms will be acknowledged online through the complete digital system. It will also accept legal aid submissions for civil contempt cases and Crown Court Order Breaches, and permit users access to earlier eForms to analyse outcomes.
Currently, the online application form is performing productively 90% of the times according to the agency. The online civil billing process which became compulsory earlier this year has not been without difficulties as reported by the users.