Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) Guidance



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What are Very High Cost Cases?

The CPS, the Bar Council and the Legal Services Commission (now the Legal Aid Agency) developed the Very High Costs Cases (VHCC) Scheme in England and Wales. The scheme was developed to ensure that costs were effectively managed and audited in the most expensive and complex cases.

How is a case classified as a Very High Cost Case?


If the incurred costs of a matter exceed £25,000 then a case will be considered as a Very High Cost Case (VHCC). Various types of civil matters can receive this classification, such as education, clinical negligence, criminal law, prison law or high cost family cases.

When a family case is classified as a VHCC, either the Very High Cost Case (VHCC) family team or Exceptional and Complex Case Team will manage the file. The former will handle single and Queens Counsel/two counsel/advocate cases. The latter team will handle all prior authority requests for Queens Counsel/two counsel cases alongside all of the Court of Protection cases. This team assist the VHCC team with technical support. 

Classification as a VHCC is not always dependent on the amount of incurred costs or work undertaken. In criminal matters, a case will be considered a VHCC if the trial estimate is between 40 and 60 days. Once notification of a VHCC has occurred on a criminal matter, an Individual Case Contract will be provided. Though the legal aid worker will be paid under a Graduated Fee Scheme.


Assessing costs on Very High Cost Cases


When assessing legal costs on VHCC’s, various methods of assessment can be utilised.

In some private law and child cases, when the hearing is expected to be more than ten days, Care Case Fee Schemes can be used. This scheme is effective on cases which follow a fact-finding route. When a Care Case Fee Scheme is in place, events have a designated value. Therefore, the costs will depend on this value. In order to decide which scheme to assign to the case, it will be considered whether the matter is being completed by a single solicitor advocate of counsel or two council members or solicitor advocates or a Leading Counsel.

Moreover, in exceptional cases, detailed (fully costed) case plans can be produced. These case plans can be practiced in Legal Aid matters. The Legal Aid Agency, a government funded organisation who facilitate the provision of legal aid, must deem a case exceptional in order for a plan to be produced. Subsequent to the notification of the VHCC, a plan can be produced. This document details a description of the case, prospects of success, the issues which require investigation, legal costs information and details of experts used and their fees e.g. counsel fees.

Though they are the most frequently used, this explanation of costing methods is not exhaustive and assessment of VHCC’s may vary from case-to-case.


How can ARC Costs assist?


The team of knowledgeable Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen at ARC Costs can assist clients with further Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) guidance and a variety of costs disputes, including Very High Costs Cases disputes.

 In legal aid funded matters, we can produce the required costing instruments and negotiate a settlement on costs. Furthermore, due to our extensive experience in the costs law industry, we can be trusted to provide reliable advice.

To find out more about how we can provide you with assistance, please contact us at 012014 397302. Alternatively, please use our free chat facility to speak to an expert directly regarding Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) guidance.

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