Confusion had arisen over payment following changes to the way solicitors are paid for criminal hearings. A separate fee used to be paid for this work, but payment is now included in the fee paid to solicitors under the litigators’ graduated fee scheme.

Some law firms then wrote to sets of chambers claiming they had no fee from which to pay counsel. They asked counsel to conduct hearings for no fee, in return for which members of their chambers would be instructed for any later Crown Court trial.

The Legal Services Commission has now confirmed that this is not the correct position, and that solicitors are paid for this work. Consequently, barristers should be paid at least the recommended rate for this work.