Court Assessed Legal Aid Bills in Online CCMS Cases
The national roll out of CCMS is rapidly approaching and the Legal Aid Agency have put some temporary measures into place for any CCMS cases that need to be assessed by the Court. This will be of immediate interest to firms who are part of the pilot or are one of the early adopters.
The original plan, as demonstrated in the training material, was that CCMS would be used to generate a bill of costs that could be sent to the Court to assess. Following the assessment, the Solicitor would need to go back into the bill in CCMS and change any items that had been reduced and then submit the claim to the Legal Aid Agency. The document produced by CCMS is far less detailed than a standard bill of costs and an agreement has not been reached with the Courts regarding the form and content of a document that they would be willing to accept from CCMS. In the meantime they have had to put some temporary measures in place.
To start with, if you have a CCMS case that needs to be assessed by the Court, you will not use CCMS for the final bill. Instead you will prepare a traditional bill of costs and following the assessment you will send off a post-assessment paper CLAIM1/1A, EX80A/B in the same way that you would do in a non CCMS case. The LAA have a temporary solution in place to allow them to pay out on a paper submission in a CCMS case. The claims will need to be differentiated from non-CCMS cases and therefore you should send them to the Integrated Delivery Programme Team and highlight clearly that it is a CCMS case.
The next stage will involve the LAA adding functionality to CCMS to allow a post-assessment claim to be prepared in the system. This will mean that you send a bill of costs to the Court as normal but the figures allowed by the Court will be entered into an online claim rather than on a CLAIM1/1A. You will be notified when you need to move to online post assessment claims.
The final stage requires the LAA to reach an agreement with the Courts so that CCMS can be used to generate the bill of costs to be sent to the Court. There is no indication of when this may be possible, so watch this space!