High Costs Case Plan: Simultaneous submission of Solicitor and Counsel plans
Don’t get stuck at the final hurdle: Simultaneous submission required for Solicitors and Counsel in High Costs Cases
In October 2019 the LAA released guidance written in consultation with Chambers representative bodies requiring Solicitors and Counsel to submit their final claims in high cost cases simultaneously.
The change has been introduced in order to streamline the payments for Counsel. Essentially where Counsel has been paid a payment on account in high cost cases and then submits their final claim, they get paid a second time. The recoupment of their payment on account only occurs when the solicitors bill is paid, which could be some considerable time later to Counsel. The LAA have worked in conjunction with the Bar Council and Independent Barristers Clerks to find a mutually agreeable solution which has resulted in it being agreed that simultaneous submission will take place.
We note that the LAA’s High Cost guidance pack ‘VHCC – Care Case Fee Scheme Information Pack – 1 Advocate (External or In-house) For Cases Registered from 01 October 2015’ is yet to be updated regarding this significant change, and in particular page 22 of this guidance now incorrectly states that ‘all counsel fees must be paid prior to the submission of the solicitors claim’. We have requested that the LAA update this guidance as soon as possible and they have agreed to make the issue more ‘high profile’.
Finally, with regards to simultaneous submission providers will need to ensure that the appropriate cost limit is allocated to Counsel. From there the usual final claim submission can take place ie. completion of outcome codes, discharging the certificate and uploading the solicitors claim. However, at this juncture providers will need to liaise with Chambers to advise that upload is taking place and request that they also submit their final claim. We would recommend providers noting within the messages box for claim upload that Counsel will be submitting simultaneously to avoid any confusion or bounce backs from the LAA.