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Judicial review challenge to LAA final offer in respect of counsel’s fees succeeds

R (Ames) v The Lord Chancellor [2018] EWHC 2250 (Admin)

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Public Law

The claimant charged by the Serious Fraud Office with offences of fraud and had the benefit of receiving legal aid for his defence at trail. This case is a judicial review of the final offer of just over £1 million, made by the Legal Aid Agency in respect of counsel’s fees.

Holroyde LJ granted permission for judicial review, finding that the decision was irrational as a result of “identified but uncorrected errors” and a breach of the duty of transparency and clarity and/or procedural unfairness in non-disclosure of the “calculator”. He directed that the LAA’s final fees offer be set aside, a fresh decision be made and that the calculator should be disclosed. Holroyde LJ rejected an argument that the LAA’s decision involved illegality.

Paul Nicholls QC was involved in this case.