Whether you are a small firm with one or two solicitors or a larger legal aid firm, it will always be beneficial to claim a Payment on Account (POA) throughout the duration of your legal aid matter rather than waiting to claim all costs in one go once the matter has concluded. Below, our Senior Costs Draftsman, Kenny Shealey considers the best method, timing and tactics for obtaining a payment and managing your cash flow.
POA in respect of Disbursements
If you have incurred any type of disbursement, did you know that you could make a POA in relation to that disbursement?
A POA can be applied for at any point during the period of the public funding certificate providing that the final bill has not been submitted.
Disbursements vouchers must be submitted with any POA of disbursements of £20 or over (including VAT).
Improve your cash flow once you have received an invoice/incurred a disbursement by making a POA, it only takes 6 minutes (or at least that is what the LAA considers reasonable!)
POA in respect of Provider Profit Costs
In relation to profit costs, a provider must wait 3 months from the grant of the certificate before a POA can be made. Furthermore a POA in respect of profit costs can only be made twice in a 12 month period. This is a rolling 12 month period and starts from when the first profit costs payment is authorised (as opposed to being based on the anniversary of the certificate being issued). Therefore it is worth considering tactically when to make a payment on account in order to maximise the amount you will get paid by the LAA.
It is worth noting that in family cases the costs of all proceedings and FAS should be included within the payment submission. Providers are unable to claim separate profit costs payments for FAS or the different aspects.
In CCMS you will need to enter 100% of the profit costs incurred to date and the CCMS system will calculate the 75% that will be paid to the provider.
Once the POA has been submitted, the provider will receive a document request on CCMS. It is important to upload the relevant documentation as the LAA cannot process the POA until they have received all supporting documents.
Information on how to complete a payment on account for profit costs can be found here
Errors in making a POA
A POA can be recouped in the following situations:
Where duplicate POA’s have been submitted in error;
A POA had been submitted against an incorrect case; or
An incorrect POA amount has been requested.
Where a POA has been paid as an incorrect amount, then the full POA must be recouped so the POA with the correct amount can be submitted.
Information in relation to recouping a POA can be found by clicking here
If you have any additional questions relating to your POA claims please do not hesitate to contact us on 0370 300 3780 or email us direct on email@example.com – we are always happy to help!