CRIMINAL law firm Tuckers has clashed with the Legal Aid Board (LAB) over alleged changes in the payment rates for duty solicitors which it claims have been introduced "unilaterally and without consultation".
Tuckers is appealing to the Manchester LAB office, claiming it has started paying duty solicitors for telephone advice calls to police stations on a per case rather than a per call basis.
Tuckers business manager, Brian Craig, said that the change would have a "dramatic effect" on payments to the firm.
It is understood that Tuckers fears suggested the LAB may be trying to drive down its payments in the run up to the negotiations for it to join a pilot scheme to test block criminal advice and assistance contracts.
However, an LAB spokesman denied the dispute was connected with the contracting pilot. He insisted there had been no changes to payments for duty solicitor advice.
He said that instances had been identified where more than one person was spoken to on a single telephone call and a claim was subsequently submitted for more than one call.