The future of legal aid submissions
Last Friday, the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) announced that they plan to implement a package to allow integration of Case Management Systems with their online accounts product from summer 2015.
This will be widely welcomed by the majority of Legal Aid Solicitors across Scotland who have been in eager anticipation for the opportunity to reduce the burden and cost of submitting Legal Aid fees ever since SLAB shelved the self-same pilot project back in early 2012.
But what does this really mean in practice for Legal Aid Solicitors in Scotland?
First and foremost, those solicitors using a Case Management System that integrates with SLAB online accounts will be able to submit fee submissions at the touch of a button.
No more double-keying of data from one system to another. No more sifting through paper files for the relevant information. No more checking for time conflicts that SLAB might pick up on. No more navigating through the SLAB website and laboriously entering each fee entry.
The Case Management System should do all this for you.
And that all means a vast reduction in time and effort in making SLAB fee submissions which translates into a major reduction in administration costs and lets you get on with earning fees.
With the year-on-year real reduction in Legal Aid fees on offer, this makes for a welcome change in the affordability of engaging with Legal Aid clients.
Get paid quicker
Being able to make online fee submissions instantly from your Case Management System instead of wading through the current laborious process means that SLAB can receive those submissions as soon as the case is closed.
No more delays between completing work, gathering information for and submitting the fee note. No more waiting for ‘feeing’ days to collate the last month’s backlog of closed cases.
Not only that, but SLAB have committed to “maximise the system performance” and “streamline internal accounts processing” which should mean that delays between making an online submission and actually getting paid should be minimised.
Looking forward, we can only assume that SLAB will further standardise and automate much of their account approval processes which are currently heavily manual. This should further reduce the time taken to approve accounts, minimise the number of abatements and manage these more effectively.
All this adds up to Legal Aid solicitors getting paid quicker for their efforts which can only be good for the industry.
There are additional potential longer-term benefits for the whole Legal Services industry – similar to those brought to the Financial Services sector with the introduction of the Origo standards – but that is for another day.
In the meantime, it is important that Legal Aid solicitors get ready now to take full advantage of the changes as soon as they are ready.
To learn more about how PureIntuitive can help Legal Aid solicitors save money and get paid quicker click here.
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