Family Law Panel Legal Aid: Uplift on Fees

 

 

 

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What is the Family Law Panel (Legal Aid)?

The Family Law Panel, legal aid takes into consideration legal professionals from three separate panels; the Resolution Accredited Specialist Panel, the Law Society’s Children Panel, and the Law Society Family Law Panel Advanced.

Accreditation and access to the above panels are open to fee earners working in the legal services industry in relation to family law matters.

Resolution Accredited Specialist Panel: To gain access to the Resolution Accredited Specialist Panel, legal professionals must already be members of Resolution. They must have substantial experience working as a family law practitioner as well as knowledge in relevant areas of family law.

The Law Society’s Children Panel : To gain access to the Law Society’s Children’s panel, you will be required to obtain accreditation. This accreditation is recognised by the Legal Aid Agency and covers all type of legal work. To gain accreditation, you should be a Chartered Legal Executive or a Solicitor. Chartered Legal Executives must be working for an SRA regulated firm, and have an advocacy qualification which has been awarded by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Accredited members of the Law Society’s Children’s Panel represent parties on children cases, and also provide advocacy for clients. They have thorough knowledge of case law, legislation and guidance as well as being fully aware of the ethical issues that may arise in children cases.

The Law Society’s Advanced Family Panel: When legal professionals gain the Advanced Family Accreditation, they will become members of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel. Accredited experts on the Law Society’s Family Law Panel will be Solicitors or Chartered Legal Executives. They will have in depth knowledge and understanding of domestic violence, cohabitation, child abduction, complex asset cases, ancillary relief, international issues, and/ or private children’s law.

 

Legal Aid 15% Uplift for Panel Members

Under the Legal Aid Agency’s Costs Assessment Guidance 2018, work carried out by Solicitors or fee earners on the accredited panels will be entitled to at least a 15% uplift on all of their fees (charged on an hourly rate basis). The uplift will be in respect of any work carried out in family law cases. If the fee earner is a member of the Law Society’s Children’s panel, the 15% enhancement will apply only to proceedings relating to children. This is defined as :

 “proceedings within which the welfare of children is determined, including without limitation, proceedings under the Children Act 1989 or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to children.” 

Unfortunately, the uplift can only be claimed by the accredited fee earner, and cannot be claimed for supervision or for work done by other fee earners. With a bill of costs, the narrative should clearly indicate the basis for any enhancement claimed and must state the fee earner who is claiming the enhancement.

For the avoidance of doubt, the 15% uplift only applies to hourly rate work, and cannot be utilised for the purposes of determining whether a fixed fee matter becomes an exceptional claim for costs.  Fixed fees, including FAS amounts, also remain consistent and are not impacted by the 15% uplift, irrespective of whether a claim for costs becomes exceptional or not.

 

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 law firms in  maximising their recovery of costs in legal aid disputes.  We also regularly advise on claiming family law panel legal aid enhanced rates within their bills of costs, including discretionary enhancements of up to 50% in County Court matters, and 100% in High Court matters.

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 also provide information and assistance on dealing with inter-partes costs in legal aid matters.

We also provide legal advice and assistance on claiming costs in non-legal aid cases, such as personal injury, housing disrepair, clinical negligence and commercial cases.

We can be contacted via email at info@arccosts.co.uk, or by telephone on 01204 397302.

For more information on legal costs, visit our services or legal costs page. You can also seeing working examples of our work on the case studies page.

Request Your Free Quotation

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

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01204 397302

info@arccosts.co.uk

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