Legal Aid Costs: Recovering your Fees

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What is Legal Aid?


The legal aid system is governed by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), which is responsible for providing legal aid to litigants in England and Wales. Legal aid covers a wide range of legal issues, including civil cases and family law matters. In some circumstances, you can also apply for legal aid for criminal cases.

Legal Aid assists individuals who may be facing legal problems such as divorce, eviction, immigration issues, domestic violence, criminal charges, and more.

Legal Aid may be offered in the form of free legal advice from a solicitor, legal representation and family mediation.

Eligibility for criminal and civil legal aid in the UK is determined based on several factors, primarily the client’s income and the type of legal issue they are facing.There are specific financial eligibility criteria that individuals must meet to qualify for legal aid, known as the means and merits test.

This test considers factors such as income, assets, and household composition, ultimately deciding whether you can afford to pay for legal assistance. Legal Aid is more likely to be offered to those in unfortunate circumstances, such as those facing a risk of homelessness.

To find out if you are eligible for legal aid, more information can be found on the government website. A Legal Aid solicitor may be found using the Law Centres Network , Citizens Advice or the Find a Solicitor tool.

If you are a solicitor offering legal aid services and are looking for expert assistance in recovering your costs, then our team at ARC Costs are on-hand to assist you.

Our legal aid costs draftsmen are specialist lawyers in the area of legal costs, which deal specifically with costs claims that are submitted to the Legal Aid Agency.


Recovering costs from the Legal Aid Agency


Solicitors and law firms may seek to recover costs from the Legal Aid Agency when they have provided legal services to clients who were funded through legal aid. This process involves requesting reimbursement for the costs incurred while representing clients who received legal aid for their cases.

Solicitors who provide legal services under the legal aid scheme are able to recover their costs from the LAA. You must quantify your costs and submit either a Payments on Account (POAs) or an interim or final bill for aspects of work completed.

It is worth noting that the LAA has specific rules you must follow when submitting your invoices, and our Costs Draftsmen can assist you with this to ensure everything is submitted correctly.

When bills are submitted to the LAA, they will be checked to ensure all the guidelines have been complied with. Once accepted, it is typical for the legal aid agency to request evidence in support of the work carried out by the solicitor, such as supporting court documents and invoices, before paying the solicitor for their work.

Some solicitors may be paid for 100% of their work completed; however, some reductions may also be applied if the LAA deem the amounts being claimed as incorrect or unreasonable.

Our team of legal aid costs draftsmen are specialists in claiming back costs through the LAA for our clients and also processing via the CCMS system, working to maximise your costs recovery.

It is also worth noting that in exceptional costs cases (in which a fixed fee does not apply), the cost of utilising our Costs Draftsmen preparing your Bill can be recovered from the LAA.


Inter-Partes Costs


When a court case concludes, whether through a judgment, settlement, or other means, there will be costs to be paid associated with the legal process, the court can decide who should bear the burden of these costs, and this decision is often formalised through an inter-partes cost order.

An inter-partes cost order essentially means that one party is awarded to claim their costs from their opponent, generally, the winning party claiming against the losing party. When this happens, it is expected that the receiving party first try and claim their costs from the paying party prior to seeking cost recovery from the legal aid agency. Inter-partes cost orders are common in housing disrepair and ancillary relief cases.

The indemnity principle does not apply in respect of hourly rates in publicly funded cases, and higher than legal aid rates are often claimed from a Paying Party.


How can ARC costs Assist?


Our team of experienced Law Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers at ARC Costs regularly assist in all types of costs claims, including legal aid costs. We work with both law firms and Litigants in Person with their costs recovery from the LAA.

Through our specialised cost assessment service, we assist clients in optimising their reclaimed legal expenses, all the while delivering proficient legal guidance and lessening the possibility of denied claims by the Legal Aid Agency.

We frequently employ the CCMS system for the submission of legal aid cost claims and manage all related administrative tasks on behalf of our clients. This approach not only releases fee earners from administrative burdens but also guarantees the swift and effective retrieval of your highest potential legal aid fees.

It is worth noting that individuals cannot use legal aid for personal injury cases, however, most personal injury solicitors offer their services on a no win no fee agreement making it accessible for most people to make a claim.

To find out more about how we can provide you with assistance, please get in touch with us at 01204 397302 or email our team of experts at Alternatively, please use our free chat facility to speak to an expert directly.


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