Minister Weerwind allocates 26 million euros in compensation of legal aid providers for high inflation
Minister Franc Weerwind for Legal Protection is compensating legal aid providers such as lawyers and mediators for cost increases due to high inflation in recent years. The compensation is a one-time subsidy and will be paid to legal aid providers by the Legal Aid Board before the end of this year. Minister Weerwind is allocating a total of 26 million euros for the subsidy.
Minister Weerwind: “With this one-time compensation, the merits of legal aid in 2023 match the costs they incur in their important work. Legal aid lawyers and mediators working legal aid cases allow the most vulnerable in our society to access the law. High inflation has hit all of society, including legal aid providers. I clearly heard the call in the Sneller motion. I want to support this profession whenever possible.”
Automatically paid out
Legal aid providers do not have to submit an application themselves. The Legal Aid Board pays out the compensation automatically in December. The amount to be received is determined based on the number of legal aid cases issued, duty lawyer notifications and additional hours granted in the period from October 1, 2022 to October 1, 2023. The total amount for compensation is 26 million euros.
Legal aid fees could not rise directly with cost increases due to high inflation in recent years. The increase for compensation is based on figures from two years earlier. As a result, the indexation for 2023 was 0.67 percent. From January 1, 2024, the fee will increase by 5.29 percent.
Minister Weerwind’s one-time compensation will consist of the difference between these indexations. This means that an additional compensation of 4.62 percent will be paid this year in the form of a subsidy. This is the percentage by which fees will increase as of January 1, 2024, minus the percentage by which fees increased as of January 1, 2023.
In addition to this one-time compensation, Minister Weerwind is working to better align legal aid fees with the practice of legal aid providers. Therefore, an independent commission will be set up before the end of this year to investigate the average time spent on certain case types in 2022 and 2023. The purpose of this is to examine whether the fees are still appropriate for how many hours are spent on a case.