Will legal aid pay for interpreters?
We have been asked to provide documentary evidence that any legal aid practitioners who obtain legal aid certificates to advise D/deaf and hard of hearing clients can claim back the cost of BSL/English Interpreters, lipspeakers, Palantype etc. from the Legal Aid Agency.
In the “Costs Assessment Guidance 2013: for use with the 2013 Standard Civil Contract“, it is stated that the “costs of reasonable adjustments to comply with the provider’s duty under the Equality Act 2010” is considered to be “work done” (i.e. work claimed under legal aid) and is therefore claimable by legal aid practitioners.
In practice, what this will usually mean is that legal aid practitioners who book BSL/English Interpreters, lipspeakers etc. will have to pay for this communication support and claim it back from the Legal Aid Agency as a disbursement.
As there would be a contract between the practitioner and the communication professional, it is not appropriate for the practitioner to wait until they are reimbursed by the Legal Aid Agency before paying the communication professional, and the communication professional is therefore at liberty to claim interest on any late payments (and admin fees if stipulated in their terms and conditions) against the practitioner.
For more advice, please contact us.