Legal Aid Costs Recovery: Unlawful Detention Case Study

 

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ARC Costs recently assisted in the recovery of costs inter-partes, in a Legal Aid Agency funded case for an unlawful detention case. The full costs of the case amounted to £34,546.31.

 

Facts of the Case

ARC Costs received instructions from the Solicitors of a Claimant detainee who sought to challenge their unlawful detention for almost three months and deportation by the Defendant the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD).

The Claimant was an Iraqi national who claimed asylum in the UK. Having fled Iraq, the Claimant travelled overland before setting out for the UK.

En-route, however, he was stopped and fingerprinted in a European country, where he was detained. When the Claimant arrived in the UK, he went to a Police station to claim asylum on the same day. According to his immigration factual summary, the Claimant was detained, and following a EURODAC hit linking his fingerprints to another country; a formal request was submitted several days later for further information.

Another nation accepted responsibility for his asylum claim on 17th September 2015; and on 13th October 2015, the Defendant issued an IS.91R authorising the Claimant’s detention. The reason given for his detention was that his “removal from the United kingdom is imminent”.

The Claimant instructed Counsel to prepare the Grounds in readiness for issuing the claim. Following instructions, the claim was issued in circumstances where removal directions had been set for the following day.

Following the issuing of the claim, the Claimant’s removal directions being acted upon by the Defendant were cancelled and the Claimant was released from detention.

Upon the case being presented to a Deputy High Court Judge, it was found for the claim to be arguable and judicial review was granted however, stayed pending the resolution of test cases in an International case batch.

The Claimant served their amended Grounds, including developments in the case since the original grounds were served 4 years earlier, detailing and distinguishing the unsuccessful previous lead cases by reference to a large amount of subsequent evidence and decisions.

The Defendant later submitted an application to the Court or the case challenging the lawfulness of Detention under Article 28 to be stayed for a further three months while the SSHD formulated her position.

Some months later, the Defendant filed an application with the Court, whereby they proposed that the claim would be transferred to the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). The Defendant made a Part 36 Offer on this date via way of a proposed Tomlin order in the sum of £10,000.

The Claimant later made an offer to settle via Part 36 in the sum of £30,000, to which the Defendant made a further Part 36 Offer in the sum of £18,000, however, this was not accepted at this time and as such, matters progressed.

The Court later wrote to both parties requesting they file their submissions on progress of the claim, by way of reply the Claimant filed their submissions, within the same, detailing their position on the case and requesting the Court order the Defendant to set out their position on liability and their position in relation to deportation of the Claimant and request the claim proceed in the Administrative Court.

Ten days later, the Claimant responded to the Defendant’s previous offer to settle by way of a Part 36 Offer in the sum of £23,000.

The Defendant later made a Part 36 Offer in the sum of £20,000, the Claimant then went on to accept this offer, thus bringing an end to this matter, save as for costs.

 

Inter-Partes Recovery in a Legally Aided Funded Matter

In the majority of publicly funded cases, the Solicitor will be required to recover their profit costs and disbursements from the Legal Aid Agency. However, in civil matters where there is a successful party, it is possible to obtain an inter-partes order, for “costs to be assessed”. 

Using our expert costing service, we help clients maximise their recovered legal costs inter-partes (through our bill drafting, negotiations and detailed assessment service) whilst also providing expert legal advice and minimising the risk of rejected claims from the Legal Aid Agency.

We have expert terms of inter-partes and legal aid costs draftsman, both providing bill drafting services.  In inter-partes work, following drafting of the Bill of Costs, our team are happy to serve the Bill with a Notice of Commencement and to negotiate on your behalf to maximise costs recovery, taking the case to a detailed assessment hearing if we so recommend to maximise your recovery.

Our legal aid experts also 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. 

In circumstances where an inter-partes costs order has been issued, the indemnity principle does not apply in respect of hourly rates, and higher than legal aid rates may be claimed from a paying party.

It is also important to note that in the event that a successful litigant receives any damages during the funded litigation, legal aid recipients may be required to pay back a portion of the awarded sum to the legal aid agency from part of their settlement. This is known as the Statutory Charge.

 

How ARC Costs assisted with Legal Aid Costs Recovery

As the claim was funded by legal aid and an inter partes costs order was made, the Claimant Solicitor was entitled to recover their charges from the Defendant. The Claimant Solicitor therefore instructed ARC Costs to assist in the drafting of a 6-column Bill of Costs.

The bill drafted by the ARC Costs team included a number of items, such as Solicitor’s time, Counsel fees, and Court fees.

The full costs of the case amounted to £34,546.31.  At the time of writing, negotiations remain ongoing.

 

Why use ARC Costs?

Our inter-partes and legal aid costs draftsman team at ARC Costs offer a range of costs drafting services tailored to the needs of our clients.

For LAA work, we regularly draft fixed fee and exceptional claims (for both profit costs and FAS) to submit on CCMS, and in inter-partes disputes (such as Judicial Review or Actions against Police) we regularly draft Costs Budgets and Bills of Costs. Our legal costs negotiators are well versed in settling Points of Dispute and Reply in order to achieve the best outcome.

Our Costs Lawyers can also provide legal representation in costs proceedings as/when necessary, including at any detailed assessment hearing.

To find out more about how we can help you, please contact us at 01204 397302 or info@arccosts.co.uk

 

 

 

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