Civil Legal Aid Reasons for Enhancement

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Civil Legal Aid Costs Recovery

In the majority of publicly funded cases, the Solicitor will be required to recover their profit costs and disbursements from the Legal Aid Agency. In some matters, an inter-partes order, for “costs to be assessed”  may be made instead, and this can sometimes arise in civil disputes such as judicial review, housing or financial matters.

If costs are required to be recovered from the Legal Aid Agency, costs will need to be submitted via the Legal Aid CCMS System.

Solicitors must quantify their costs and submit either a Payments on Account (POAs) or an interim or final bill for aspects of work completed.

The level of costs recoverable from the Legal Aid Agency are usually at considerably lowers rate than those which would be recovered inter partes. In some circumstances; however, an enhancement on costs may be sought and awarded by the LAA, particularly in novel case circumstances or exceptional matters. 


Civil Legal Aid Reasons for Enhancement

Enhanced costs may be awarded in various circumstances. The main civil legal aid reasons for enhancement are listed below:

  • Exceptional skill, competence or expertise: Enhanced costs may be awarded when the fee earner demonstrates extensive relevant knowledge in a novel area of legal aid such as representing a child in Children Act proceedings, judicial review/asylum cases, vulnerable persons cases. This can also be applied if the fee earner attends most of the hearings.
  • Speed: Another crucial aspect warranting an enhancement is speed. This would apply to cases where urgent deadlines have been put into place, and immediate action is necessary.  This could include matters such as Emergency Protection Orders, where urgent action is required to protect the welfare of a child.
  • Exceptional circumstances or complexity of a case: The complexity or exceptional circumstances of a case can significantly impact the workload and demands placed on fee earners. Working extra hours to meet case demands shows commitment and dedication from the fee earner. Exceptional circumstances can include severe child abuse cases in legal proceedings involving children. They can also include situations where language barriers or health issues make it difficult to receive instructions from a client.
  • Cases that take place or conclude in the High Court: In County Court level matters (District/Circuit Judge level disputes) enhancement is capped at 50%.  Cases that take place or conclude in the High Court are inherently deemed complex and up to 100% enhancement can be claimed. This acknowledgment is reflected in the possibility of higher enhancements. This distinction underscores the intricacies involved in High Court proceedings, which may require additional resources and expertise.
  • Fee earner memberships or accreditations: Fee earners who hold memberships in distinguished panels, such as the Children Panel or the Family Law Advanced Panel, or those who have achieved accreditation as a Resolution Accredited Specialist, bring a wealth of expertise to their cases. These individuals have demonstrated a commitment to continuous professional development and a deep understanding of their respective fields. A 15% enhancement is extended to fee earners with such credentials. Fee earners can be searched on the below websites and their accreditation will be attached.
  • Family Law/Children Panel –
  • Resolution –


How can ARC Costs Assist?

Our team of experienced Legal Aid Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers at ARC Costs regularly assist in all types of legal aid costs claims. We understand the civil legal aid reasons for enhancement and ensure the same is sought in circumstances where an enhancement is warranted.

We work with both law firms and their team of staff to ensure a maximum costs recovery from the LAA is achieved.

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.

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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