Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Court
LEGAL AID IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS (COSTS) (AMENDMENT
NO. 2) RULES (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2001 (S.R. 2001/426)
1. The Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings (Costs)
(Amendment No. 2) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2001 ("the 2001
Rules") are made by the Lord Chancellor, in exercise of the
powers conferred by Article 36(3) of the Legal Aid, Advice and
Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 ("the 1981 Order"),
now vested in the Lord Chancellor by the Transfer of Functions
(Legal Aid and Maintenance Orders) (Northern Ireland) Order 1982,
after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice, the Attorney General
and with the approval of Treasury.
2. The 2001 Rules require to be laid before Parliament
in accordance with the provisions of Article 36(4) of the 1981
Order and are subject to the negative resolution procedure.
3. The 2001 Rules amend the Legal Aid in Criminal
Proceedings (Costs) Rules (Northern Ireland) 1992 ("the 1992
4. The 1992 Rules, which came into operation in January
1993, introduced a statutory scheme for remunerating lawyers acting
for legally aided defendants in criminal cases in Northern Ireland.
In addition to regulating the receipt, assessment and processing
of lawyers' claims, the 1992 Rules:
(a) prescribe standard fees for cases meeting certain
(b) prescribe rates of remuneration to be applied
to various elements of work in non-standard fee cases.
5. The 1992 Rules also provide that the Appropriate
Authority (a panel established by the 1992 Rules to determine
appropriate fees in individual cases) will have the discretion,
in relation to work done after a certain date ("the
relevant date"), to allow such fees as appear to them to
be fair remuneration for such work, having regard to the
rates prescribed for non-standard fee cases; that is, they will
not be obliged to apply either the standard or non-standard
6. The 2001 Rules amend Rules 6(3) and 9(5) of the
1992 Rules so as to advance the relevant date from 31 December
2001 to 31 December 2002. If the date were not so altered the
Appropriate Authority would have the discretion set out above
and therefore would not be obliged to apply the prescribed fee
rates: this would be contrary to Government policy at this time.
7. For this reason the 2001 Rules are to come into
operation on 30 December 2001.
8. Having completed the necessary consultation process
draft Rules were submitted to the Lord Chancellor on 29 November
with a view to them coming into operation on 30 December 2001.
The Lord Chancellor signed these Rules on Monday 3 December. However,
due to an administrative error there was insufficient time to
secure the required signatures of two Lords Commissioners of HM
Treasury so as to comply with the 21 day rule. This is particularly
unfortunate as the 21 day rule was unavoidably breached because
of the Election purdah when these rules were last amended in June
2001, for which we also apologise.
9. Any further difficulties caused for the Joint
Committee are very much regretted.
12 December 2001