Last month the Legal Aid Agency released guidance regarding a standard file format when submitting files of papers for billing.
The guidance only applies when you need to submit the full file of papers. This is required in cases where the LAA are assessing the bill (as opposed to court assessment) and one of the following applies:
Your case is a mental health claim
Your case has escaped a fixed fee
You have a non fixed fee case and the profit costs (excluding VAT) are over £2500 (or £1000 in the case of immigration and asylum)
You may also be asked to submit your full file of papers when you have had a court assessed bill as part of an audit.
The guidance provided by the LAA states:
“We ask you to submit a main file of both online and paper files in the following chronological order:
letters in and out
court attendance notes
There should be a separate folder for:
disbursement vouchers – the vouchers should be numbered to correspond with the claim
court bundle including pleadings, orders etc
legal help form including CW2 where applicable
evidence for domestic violence, where applicable
experts’ reports, unless included within court bundle
Where possible all work should be in chronological order.”
The guidance also applies to files being submitted electronically and the LAA request that each item uploaded is clearly labelled e.g. ‘work dated 1st January 2015 to 30th June 2015’
At present this is only a preference for the LAA and is not a requirement that would count against your KPIs. However there would be merit where possible for keeping files in an order that is broadly in keeping with the above to avoid any delays on assessment and in case it becomes more of a formal requirement in the future.