Peer Review Appeals

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) requires that firms achieve at least a Category 3 – “Threshold Competence” result in order to maintain their F2F legal aid contract.

If a firm receives a Category 4 or 5 then that amounts to a ‘fail’ and the firm is entitled to appeal that decision.

A Category 4, if not appealed, leads to a contract notice and a further Peer Review audit in six months’ time. If there is a further fail at that stage then the LAA may serve a contract termination notice on your firm.

If a firm is given a Category 5 in its Peer Review, then the LAA will conduct a second Peer Review audit immediately and if the firm fails they will receive a termination notice.

A category 4 or 5 can have adverse effects when it comes to legal aid tendering. Firms should therefore always consider appealing the initial result where possible. An LAA tender typically includes a question like the following:

“Has the Applicant or another organisation which employed or engaged any of the Applicant’s Key Personnel at the time, in the last 5 years, received a ‘Below Competence’ (4) or ‘Failure in Performance’ (5) rating at Peer Review in the XXX Category of Law that resulted in a decision of termination by the LAA?”

We have assisted a number of civil and crime firms to improve their score and obtain a pass score of Category 3 or above on appeal.

We have considerable knowledge and experience of how the LAA and its peer reviewers approach this audit and can provide an objective commentary with hints and tips on your result.

We can also help you draft your appeal papers to make them more effective.

Please contact us immediately when you receive your Peer Review report and we can then advise you as to the merits of appealing.

We can also train your stop staff to mitigate the risk of future non-compliance with the LAA Peer Review criteria.

Please contact Wayne Williams for an informal discussion and cost estimate.