Family High Costs Case Plan


Contact Us Today

Sign up to our newsletter

What is a Family High Costs Case Plan?

A legal aid funded case becomes a very high cost case (VHCC) in England and Wales when it exceeds £25,000.  These are also known as High Costs Case Plans (HCCPs). Very high costs case plans can be applied to a range of family/civil cases involving protracted and complex issues, and this may be in children/domestic abuse disputes, or be other more complex disputes such as clinical negligence/housing matters. As detailed on the GOV website, there are two main teams that oversee the management of family high costs cases:

“High Cost Family (HCF) team – deals with all single and KC/2 counsel/advocate cases in private and public law family matters (South Tyneside based)

Exceptional and Complex Case Team (ECCT) family section – deals with all prior authority requests for KC/2 counsel cases in private and public law family matters and all Court of Protection cases. ECCT provides all technical oversight and support to HCF (London based)”

The methods for costing such cases fall either under the Care Case Fee Scheme (CCFS) or the Detailed (Fully Costed) Case Plans. Ultimately, the goal of organising cases in this way is to manage significant costs that could potentially affect litigants, counsel fees and the courts.

In situations involving family cases categorised as VHCCs, the case management may be assigned to either the VHCC family team or the team specialising in Exceptional and Complex Cases. The former deals with single, King’s Counsel, two counsel, or advocate cases, whereas the latter is responsible for handling requests for prior authority in King’s Counsel/two counsel cases and all Court of Protection cases. Additionally, the Exceptional and Complex Case Team provides technical support to the VHCC team throughout the proceedings.

Dependant upon the type of case which is becoming high cost, guidance is available as follows for family/public law, and non-family disputes.


Why are Family High Costs Case Plans used?

Family high costs case plans allow for the Legal Aid Agency to work with Lawyers and Solicitor Advocates in agreeing on the appropriate budget for the case, understanding the funding available and how best to use it during the legal process. With the transparency of this pre-set budget, it keeps control of costs for the Solicitor, any Junior Counsel or Leading Counsel involved, as well as the LAA.  Where there is Counsel involvement, it also ensures they can utilise their capacity to best effect, and how best to maximise their time and expertise within the costs amount set out.

HCCPs ultimately maintain reasonable and proportionate costs while also guaranteeing access to legal aid for those in need.  The HCCP will need regularly review in more protracted cases, as costs can only be forecast in line with Court directions, which can evolve over time as litigation progresses.  When the forecast has come to an end but further Court directions are given, additional stages will need to be added to any case plan to cater for further work to be done.

It is also important to ensure the HCCP is based on the correct rates for family, public and non-family (civil) work.

Family work is usually based on the normal prescribed hourly rates, to which enhancement can be claimed in addition.  Care and public law work is usually Event-based, which involves a fixed fee per Event. 

Non-family (civil) work is usually charged utilising “at-risk” rates, which are flat rates for all work (except travel) at £70ph, £50ph for Junior Counsel and £90ph for Leading Counsel.  This is on the basis that such cases are usually only funded on the basis they have merits of succeeding, and therefore there is a likely outcome that inter-partes costs will be recovered.


Who is Eligible for Legal Aid?

Some people may be eligible for Legal Aid Funded work in family law cases, including domestic violence and child cases in which the minor has been abducted. Legal Aid eligibility can also depend on your financial circumstances.

How can ARC Costs Help?

ARC Costs comprises a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen, all of whom are more than capable to assist clients with high costs family cases.

For cases funded through legal aid, we have the capability to generate the necessary cost documentation and facilitate an evaluation of your legally assisted expenses for concluded cases. Typically, we successfully recoup over 90% of the claimed amounts in the costs assessment conducted with the Legal Aid Agency, and often recover 100% of what is claimed.

In VHCC/HCCP type matters, we can assist with the production of your case plan, submission and processing of the plan on CCMS, as well as approval of an increased costs limitation to ensure you have access to ongoing cashflow.  We will also assist with billing of your case on conclusion of each stage of a case plan, or the entire proceedings, to ensure you recover the full amounts possible under the approved case plan.


To find out more about how we can provide you with assistance, please contact us at 012014 397302 or email one of our expert team on Alternatively, please use our free chat facility to speak to an expert directly regarding family high costs case plan guidance.


Request Your Free Quotation

Contact us today for your free, no obligation quotation. Our team are on hand to help.


4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302

Follow Us