VHCC deal changes

Criminal barristers have reacted angrily to last-minute changes to a deal on Very High Cost Criminal  (“VHCC”) cases. Bar representatives have been negotiating with Ministry of Justice officials for nearly two years to secure a flexible pay scheme for advocates working on VHCC cases, which include the most serious terrorism and murder trials. However, in November the government said it wanted to introduce a new option: extending the existing fixed-fee scheme for shorter cases of up to 40 days to include cases lasting up to 60 days. The Legal Services Commission (“LSC”) confirmed the change in its consultation paper, published in December, “Very High Cost (Crime) Cases 2010”.