Civil Billing LAA: Legal Aid Costs Recovery

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Civil Billing LAA & CCMS

Civil billing (LAA) is predominantly conducted using the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) Online Portal (also known as CCMS). The system allows Legal Aid providers and Legal Aid Agency staff to access specific forms, reports, documents and administration tools online.

The Legal Aid Agency transitioned from its paper-based system several years ago, and now conducts all procedures electronically through the CCMS login and submission process.

The online portal allows for the use of seven different applications that each have a different role for the function of the business. For example, the Contracted Work and Administration (CWA) application allows for the acceptance of Legal Aid contracts. The Management Information (MI) application allows representatives to view their organisations financial details. When LAA online billing services are required, the legal aid representative can use the Client Cost Management System (CCMS).


Using the CCMS for Civil Billing LAA

In cases involving legal aid, a detailed assessment order is often issued, allowing Legal Aid Solicitors to seek reimbursement from the Legal Aid Agency, unless an inter-partes costs order has been granted. If a final order is not issued, the legal aid certificate must be discharged to enable the assessment of legal aid costs.

To recover costs, Solicitors must quantify their expenditure, for both profit costs and disbursements, and submit Payments on Account (POAs) if the case is ongoing, or interim bills (if one aspect has concluded) or final bills (if the case is fully concluded) for completed work through the LAA’s online billing system (CCMS).

The Legal Aid Agency enforces strict invoice and costs submission guidelines, and we would always recommend the assistance of a costs expert to submit your costs claims online.  Our Legal Aid Costs Draftsmen can provide assistance to ensure accurate and proper submissions, and high levels of rejections can impact on legal aid KPIs, which may trigger more frequent reviews of a firm’s performance by the LAA.

Submitted bills are scrutinised by the Legal Aid Agency for compliance with all guidelines. Once accepted, the agency may request evidence supporting the solicitor’s work, including court documents and invoices, before making payment.

Whilst some solicitors may recover costs for all completed work, the LAA may apply reductions if they find the claimed amounts to be inaccurate or unreasonable.


Exceptional Costs Billing

Whilst the CCMS login does allow for manual entry of exceptional costs claims on a line-by-line basis, submitting an interim or final claim for costs on a certificate this way can be quite tedious. We recommend utilising external third-party software to streamline the preparation of any exceptional costs claim based on hourly rates.

These claims can then be exported into a CCMS-friendly XML format and a trial upload can be submitted through the ‘Pricing Upload’ option on CCMS. This trial upload enables identification and correction of any errors without impacting your LAA contract. Once approved, a formal submission of the exceptional costs claim can be made, and the LAA typically processes the claim within 1 to 2 weeks.


How can ARC Costs Assist?

ARC Costs has a team of legal aid costs draftsmen who are specialists in civil billing (LAA). We are experienced in claiming back costs through the LAA for our clients and also processing via the CCMS system, working to maximise your costs recovery.

We frequently utilise the CCMS system for the submission of legal aid cost claims and manage all of the 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 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.

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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4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302

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