Care Legal Aid: Escape Threshold



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What is Legal Aid?


Legal aid is provided by the Legal Aid Agency. This is a government funded service which facilitates the provision of legal services for individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

There are two types of legal aid: controlled work and licensed work. The former includes legal help, help at court, family help (lower), family mediation and legal representation for proceedings regarding immigration and asylum. The latter concerns family help (higher), legal representation (other than controlled legal representation) and other legal services in exceptional cases. A means test will occur to decided which type of aid an individual requires.

An individual would generally have to show that their case was eligible for legal aid, their issue was serious and that they cannot afford to pay the legal costs.

Scenarios which may allow for the provision of legal aid include cases of domestic violence or matters where family mediation is necessary.

If an individual receives money or property as a consequence of winning their case, they may be asked to repay a part of the aid costs or all of the legal aid funding.


Care Legal Aid Escape Threshold: What is an Escape Fee Case Claim?


When the work on a matter has the potential to exceed the fixed fees set out in The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013, the legal aid fee can be calculated via hourly rates.  These claims can arise on a variety of matters, such as mental health proceedings, immigration and asylum proceedings, as well as civil cases.


Guidance on Escape Fee Cases


In order for a case to be classified as an Escape Fee Claim it must surpass the care legal aid escape threshold.  This threshold is calculated at three times the amount of the standard fee. For example, if the standard fee is £300 but the legal costs (including disbursements) are £1,000, then the threshold will have been passed.  

Guidance for Escape Fee Cases can be found in the government handbook. This text states that if the costs are “below the escape threshold then the costs have not escaped and the fixed fee is due.” Furthermore, it will only be necessary to prepare a Bill of Costs if the costs have escaped the threshold.

Nevertheless, if the legal aid costs have only exceeded the threshold as a result of the bill preparation costs, the case will not be classified as an escape claim. If the legal aid costs are assessed via a Bill of Costs and the costs will not have not surpassed the threshold, and the bill preparation costs will not be recoverable.

For an escape fee claim to be made, the claim form on the government website needs to be completed.


How are the costs on Escape Fee Cases recovered?


A Bill of Costs should be prepared when assessing whether the legal aid costs have surpassed the threshold.

This is a comprehensive document which chronologically itemises all of the work completed on a matter. For this document to be prepared, full access to the file of papers will be required.

Moreover, the aforementioned claim form stipulates that the disbursements incurred needs to be stated, evidence of income, an IT based record of costs, controlled work application form (if applicable) and the full file of papers.

Evidence of work completed must be shown on the file and work that is classed as “purely administrative” will not be recoverable.

Costs for the following may be allowed if they are considered reasonable and appropriate:

  • Room hire for a video conference
  • Time spent on the perusal of expert CVs
  • Time spent on the perusal of documentation
  • Time spent on the preparation of documents and making telephone calls
  • Advocacy
  • Waiting time on telephone calls
  • Travel time
  • Running record of costs


How can ARC Costs assist?


The ARC Costs team are a highly experienced team of legal aid Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsman. We regularly assist parties who require advice and assistance with the care Legal Aid escape threshold.

The knowledgeable costs draftsmen can prepare reliable Bill of Costs which will maximise your recovery. Due to our swift SLA of 5 working days, your case will be able to settle promptly.

We can further assist in quantifying and negotiating inter-partes costs in legally aid funded cases. We are always happy to help with costs challenges/queries and can provide information on dealing with inter-partes costs in legal aid matters.

We can be contacted using our email address at, or by telephone on 01204 397302. We can also be contacted using the contact form at the top of the page, or via our live chat facility.

 For more information on legal costs and our speciality areas of expertise, take a look at our services on our legal costs page, as well as viewing working examples of our work on the case studies page.



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01204 397302

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