Criminal legal aid assignments - information & criminal case reports
Criminal assignments report
The assignment reports show all criminal legal aid assignments made for the period. It includes preferred, reassignments and rotational assignments. This report should not be used to compare rotational assignments between providers.
The Public Defence Service is assigned 50% of all rotational assignments for the courts in which they operate.
How does the rotational case assignment system work?
The electronic system used for making rotational assignments allocates cases to legal aid providers on the court assignment lists. It automatically ‘rotates’ the list order based on the number of assignments received by each provider and ensures that assignments are equitably distributed. For instance, if a provider goes on leave their entitlement to cases decreases in line with the time that they are on leave.
Why do assignment totals vary?
A number of factors affect the distribution of assignments over a reporting period, including the length of time a particular provider has been on an assignment list, their availability to take assignments and other exceptions in the assignment policy.
What are the exceptions to rotational case assignment?
Open cases: when a client has matters before the court (even if they have been charged with unrelated offences) then the new matters will usually be assigned to the existing provider so that the client has continuity of representation (the most common exception to the rotational policy).
Urgent matters that can’t be dealt with by a duty lawyer, (eg a serious opposed bail application). The assignment will be made to a legal aid provider that is available to attend court.
Holding charges are filed that require a PAL1 or 2 provider, but more serious charges are imminent: the policy for cases requiring PAL 3 and 4 providers applies and clients may nominate a preferred provider.
Mental Health or Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care (and Rehabilitation) Act: if the client has been subject to either of these Acts within the last three months then a lawyer with the appropriate listing categorisation may be assigned.
Police Detention Legal Assistance (PDLA): when a legal aid provider delivers a service to a legal aid client under the PDLA scheme outside usual working hours, that provider may be assigned.
Court of Appeal, Supreme Court or parole applications: clients can nominate a preferred provider.
Do cases assigned under the exceptions count as rotational assignments?
Cases assigned under the following exceptions will count as part of a provider’s overall number of assignments:
client subject to Mental Health Act or the Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care (and Rehabilitation) Act
Cases assigned under the following exceptions will be in addition to any rotational assignments: