Case Study – 100% of Costs Recovered in Legal Aid Costs Assessment

 

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ARC Costs regularly assist in legal costs matters which are assessed by the Legal Aid Agency. Our team are often successful successful in recovering 100% of costs for the representing firm of solicitors. Whilst the LAA may apply reductions where appropriate, if a reasonable costs claim is put forward, they will often allow the costs as claimed.

In the specific case study of this article, the legal aid costs assessment was required following a care case which involved issues of domestic abuse.

What is a Legal Aid Costs Assessment?

A legal aid costs assessment refers to the process of assessing and determining the costs associated with providing legal aid services under the legal aid system. The legal aid system in these jurisdictions is designed to ensure that individuals who cannot afford legal representation can still access justice.

Legal aid providers, which may include solicitors, barristers, and legal costs professionals submit detailed invoices and documentation to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for the services they have provided via an interim (for a single of multiple aspects matter) or final bill (where all work on the certificate is completed). The LAA conducts a costs assessment to review and determine the reasonableness and necessity of the costs claimed.

The legal aid costs assessment takes into account factors such as the complexity of the case, the time spent on legal work, and any disbursements (expenses incurred on behalf of the client, such as court fees or expert reports). It also aims to ensure that the costs claimed are in line with the rules and regulations governing legal aid.

Legal aid providers are typically remunerated based on fixed fee rates set by the government. These rates may vary depending on the type of case and the stage of legal proceedings.

A knowledgeable Legal Aid Costs Draftsman or Costs Lawyer is always beneficial to instruct, to maximise the fixed/hourly rate fees which can be claimed. Common aspects of family/public law in which we claim back costs include: domestic abuse, ancillary relief, Children Act proceedings, care, DOLs and Court of Protection matters.

We also have a team that deals specifically with non-family matters and civil disputes, which often take place in disputes involving: housing disrepair, unlawful eviction, immigration and judicial review.

Facts of the case

The subject case was in relation to care proceedings after the Local Authority alleged that there was reasonable ground to believe that the child (Third Respondent) was suffering or was likely to suffer significant harm as the First Respondent was involved in a domestic abuse incident with the Second Respondent which led to a safety plan being put in place for the Third Respondent, leading to the arrest of the the Second Respondent.

The Local Authority applied for a Care Order on behalf of the Respondents’ children due to alleged incidents of dishonesty and domestic violence. The First Respondent therefore instructed a firm of Solicitors to represent them in proceedings.

The case lasted around three years and sixteen hearings took place within that time. The case concluded and the Third respondent was ultimately placed for adoption.

Costs in the case

The matter was funded by way of a Legal Aid Certificate with a cost limitation of £25,000.

An enhancement of 30% was claimed on behalf of the conducting fee handlers to reflect the complexity of the proceedings. The matter concerned an interim Care order for the Child. The parties alleged domestic and physical abuse between both parties as well as dishonesty in the case with the First Respondent being untruthful.

The Second Respondent was incarcerated due to the domestic violence against the First Respondent, and the matter was considered to be of a complex nature due to the nature of the allegations made by each party regarding use of abuse and physical and verbal harm to the Child to which the child was eventually put up for adoption.

The conducting file handlers also exhibited exceptional competence in addressing the needs of the represented child as there were concerns regarding the welfare and protection of the child from harm and concerns regarding the separate allegations made separately by the Mother and Father. Therefore, the fee handlers addressed the further needs of the children as to the best position of care and contact with the parents.

The total costs listed within the bill amounted to £16,391 +VAT which included profit costs of £13,952.42. Advocacy costs amounted to £949.70 + VAT and disbursements amounted to £1,489.78 +VAT.

Our team were successful in recovering 100% of costs listed within the bill for our client on submission to the LAA via the CCMS system.

How can ARC Costs assist with your Legal Aid Costs Assessment?

Our team of highly skilled Legal Aid Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers regularly assist in all types of costs claims, including publicly funded and inter-partes costs claims, with our client base ranging from law firms to Litigants in Person. In inter-partes disputes, we can also assist either paying parties and receiving parties.

Using our expert costing service, we help clients maximize their recovered legal costs whilst providing expert legal advice and minimising the risk of rejected claims from the Legal Aid Agency, to ensure you maintain your KPIs.

We regularly use the CCMS system to submit legal aid costs claims and deal with all the administration on behalf of our clients and to free up the time of fee earners, thereby ensuring you can recover your maximum legal aid fees in an expeditious and efficient manner. 

if you require any free initial advice, or our assistance with regards to any aspect of costs, please email us at info@arccosts.co.uk, or contact us via the Contact Us page and one of the team will get in touch on the same working day. Our team can also be called on 01204 397302.

Location

4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302

info@arccosts.co.uk

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