CPS denies suggestion it shrinks font to reduce page count | News

The Crown Prosecution Service has disputed comments by the chairman of the government-commissioned legal aid review this week that the prosecution is deliberately keeping pages of incriminating evidence by reducing the police – which would affect the amount of the remuneration of legal aid practitioners.

Prosecution pages of evidence are one of multiple factors in the Tiered Litigators’ Fee Plan (LGFS) that determine attorneys’ fees.

Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, who led the Independent Criminal Legal Aid Review, appeared before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee on Tuesday where he was asked about fee scale reforms.

Bellamy told the committee that LGFS has “become a monster, where the page count has become separated from the actual work,” resulting in a system where some cases are not paid and other cases are overpaid.

As a compromise, he suggested that the basic model that underpins the magistrate’s court system – which has three tiers of fees depending on the complexity of the case – could be used at the police station and replace the LGFS.

Bellamy said: ‘Lawyers should therefore be paid for the prep work they do properly and we should move away from this somewhat medieval practice of counting pages as long as they are pages. Senior CPS officials were telling me the other day that they deliberately narrowed the font of pages served in order to reduce the number of pages. It is very difficult to imagine a criminal justice system reduced to this kind of manoeuvre.

The criminals were furious. “What we’ve suspected for a long time, and this is the tip of the iceberg,” former London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association chairman Mark Troman said on Twitter.

A CPS spokesperson said: “We are not responsible for the formatting of these pages.”

This article is now closed for commentst.

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