I have a real dislike for going back to the Police Station for what I call bail to return appointments. The Legal Services Commission are my paymaster and I have to keep within their rules. Currently their rules state that I should not be paid for attending at the Police Station for a bail to return appointment unless I have made checks to ensure that something is happening that requires legal advice and assistance. I think that this caveat on payment is only fair.
What is not fair is that I have to run around and waste my time to see if the appointment is going to result in action that requires my attendance (such as a reinterview or the person being charged and informed they are to be prosecuted), or whether my attendance is not required because the Police have either dropped the case or have given the person an appointment even further off in the future. None of this work involved to check the case is paid for as the Legal Services Commission states that such work falls outside the scope of legal advice and assistance at the Police Station.
Here is an example of the lengths I have gone to for an appointment today.
- Phone call yesterday to the Officer's office. He is not on duty until today so I leave a message for him to call me.
- Phone call yesterday to the Police Station where my Client has to attend. The Custody Sergeant cannot help me as he knows nothing about the case and is not prepared to make an effort to find out.
- Today I have made 7 phone calls to various numbers to the Police Operator, the Officer, and the Custody Suite. None of these phone calls has been answered.
It is about 1 hour before the appointment and I still do not know what is happening. I must have spent 30 minutes of wasted time trying to find out what is happening. I am playing within the Legal Services Commission's rules so that if I am unable to find out what is happening I will still get paid for attending no matter what the outcome of the case is. Why am I forced to waste my time finding out what is happening when I cannot be paid for any of that wasted time? Even the cost of the phone calls at say £4.05 per phone call for the calls where I actually speak to someone would be nice.