With effect from 17 August 2020, claims for Legal Aid Costs formerly 'taxed' by the Court will now be assessed directly by the Legal Aid Agency.
Early indications during the pilot period are positive with claims often being processed in two weeks compared with many months when 'taxed' via the usual Court route.
The guidance is as follows:
Bills previously submitted to court for taxation (above £2,500 net) will now be uploaded to CCMS for LAA assessment. The LAA will require a bill to be created in one of three formats to be considered by LAA caseworkers rather than the Court. You can use the Online Portal or Claim Upload.
There are some exclusions to this process; please refer to the FAQ document for those cases. When billing, Solicitors should consider what works best for their firm and what option offers the best approach:
• Bill of Costs: if a bill of costs has already been created but not assessed at court, then we will accept this uploaded as evidence alongside the usual summary level claim on CCMS. Caseworkers will then consider the bill of costs in the same manner as done so by the courts and pay that amount.
• Claim 1/1A: if no bill of costs has been created, the LAA will accept a summary level claim with a completed Claim 1 or Claim 1A uploaded as evidence of work done. This will be assessed in same manner as done so by the courts and payment confirmed.
• CCMS Line-by-Line: we will also accept a line by line CCMS hourly rates bill on CCMS. this will replace the need to complete a summary level bill and can be uploaded to the portal to be assessed by the LAA.
Any reduction in costs by LAA caseworkers will be communicated and the usual rights of appeal to the LAA stands as normal.
Full details of the new scheme and the exclusions can be found here.
The detailed advanced guide is available here.
At SPH, we can manage the entire process for you from costing your file, uploading the claim and dealing with all steps through to final payment. Please contact Alison Bradbury for further details on 01772 435550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org