Attendance at a group conference in criminal law matters
A conference is a meeting between the solicitor and counsel with the client or a witness where substantive legal issues are discussed and/or signed instructions are obtained. A formal record of the conference attendance must be produced for the file noting the attendees, time taken and issues discussed.
Where a practitioner attends a group conference but the client failed to attend the conference, a fee is still claimable.
Conferences, as provided for in the substantive grant of aid, may be claimed for attendances which meet the requirements above.
In trial conferences
A conference may be claimed on Day 1 of trial where the purpose of the conference is to confirm instructions to proceed by way of trial/sentence or to deal with late evidence, provided the time spent in conference exceeds 30 minutes.
Attending on the client during the course of a trial to clarify matters, seek further instructions on matters raised in the proceedings etc is covered by the daily court attendance fee. No additional conferences will be paid on days of trial unless specific matters such as change of plea or tendering of a co-accused s13A statement necessitates further instructions.
Extraordinary grants and conference fees
As conference fees are included in the extraordinary grants, no additional conferences are claimable on the substantive grant.
In Supreme Court matters, the trial preparation fee is classed as an extraordinary grant and therefore only one conference fee is claimable under the examine depositions grant.
Detailed file notes relating to all attendances at group conferences must be retained on the practitioners file. File notes must include:
- the date of the conference and time spent
- the names of all those in attendance
- details of any instructions taken
- details of any advice given.
Last updated 24 April 2018
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