By Legal Futures Associate Select Legal Systems 
Last week, the Legal Aid Agency issued notification of two very imminent and important changes that will affect how crime firms use their legal practice management software integrations for processing legal aid claims. The changes have been in consultation since January, and on 12 May the decision was concluded and communicated.
Both changes come into force from the beginning of June, which affords software developers very little time to react to ensure their software integrations reflect the changes required. However, the authors of LAWFUSION, Select Legal Systems Limited , are currently making priority plans to embrace both changes in order to make an upgrade available to LAWFUSION users as soon as logistically possible, to reduce inconvenience with regards to firms making and managing their claims submissions.
Crime Legal Aid Change No. 1:
CCD Portal (Crown Court Defence Billing Tool)/2 June 2021
The first change is in relation to the existing CCD (Crown Court Defence Billing Tool) Portal. The LAA has made a change to the API. As a result Select Legal Systems will re-integrate part of LAWFUSION’s AGFS / LGFS final claim submissions functionality . Team LAWFUSION will action this as soon as logistically possible, and keep users and prospects posted on progress.
Crime Legal Aid Change No. 2:
Pre-Charge Engagement Fee/7 June 2021
The second change is in relation to a new type of fee that crime firms will soon be able to claim at investigation stage, which is a ‘Pre-Charge Engagement Fee’. This fee change is potentially similar to the ‘sending hearing’ change embraced last year by Team LAWFUSION for its crime users. The late arrival of technical information required from the authorities means many software developers, including Select Legal Systems, cannot commit to the 7 June deadline, but Team LAWFUSION will make every effort to make the new fee screen available to LAWFUSION users as soon as logistically possible.
The company will be involving a number of crime firm clients as part of their development research and testing processes to ensure the changes are implemented effectively for users.
Select Legal’s Operations Director, Mike Dobson said, “We would like to assure our crime firm clients that we will maintain regular communication with the LAA about this and we will keep everyone posted on progress regarding both changes.”
For existing LAWFUSION clients with questions about the changes, in the meantime, please contact LAWFUSION support on 01482 567600.
For law firms not yet users of LAWFUSION , but who are interested in the system’s crime modules and integrations  or any other aspect of the system , please call Sales on 01482 567601. Out of hours LAWFUSION Sales offers a round-the-clock online enquiry form here .