The John M Hayes Partnership have proven to be professional, effective and knowledgeable Costs Draftsmen. The quality and speed of their drafting is excellent and the advice received has been detailed and pragmatic.
We provide an update on the upcoming changes being implemented by the LAA, with consultations being conducted with the representative bodies and closing on the 16 June 2020.
Court assessed bill of costs
We had previously advised that the LAA announced that from the 1 June 2020, they had introduced a new system allowing them to assess all claims for costs including those which were normally assessed by the court.
Currently this change is optional, however it is thought that there will be another 6 weeks of court assessed bills and thereafter this change will be permanent. Once a date has been agreed between the LAA and HMCTS, we will make you aware of this.
We would therefore encourage all providers that wish for their matters to be assessed by the court, to contact us immediately and without delay, to ensure that your costs can be assessed by the court.
The LAPG are preparing their formal consultation response (deadline 16 June 2020) and are keen to hear from providers about this issue.
In our opinion, we are shocked with the sudden change in stance from the LAA, however we can see the pros and cons with the new assessment regime.
We have heard from some providers that they will welcome the change as they could get potentially get paid quicker and also they do not have to wait for an indefinite period to hear back from the court. On the flip side, we have heard that providers are sceptical about this change as the LAA are known to assess claims down more than courts do as they cannot understand the complexities of the work involved. Furthermore, providers regularly experience the pain of having claims assessed down without adequate explanation from the LAA.
Rest assure, at John M Hayes we are here for your every needs and we are here to support you through this change in the assessment of your costs.
Payments on Account
Currently the rules on payments on account are that solicitors may only claim two profit costs payments on account within a twelve-month period.
The LAPG since the start of the Covid-19 crisis have been pressing the LAA to consider a more flexible approach to claiming POAs. The LAPG have been repeatedly told that there are millions of pounds in unclaimed POAs locked in the system. In an effort to unlock some of these funds, the LAA are proposing to increase the frequency that POAs can be claimed.
The LAA have therefore commenced a contract consultation on a change to the 2018 Standard Civil Contract General Specification (para 6.21) to increase the number of claims for POAs that can be made in a 12 month period from two to four.
The contract consultation is open to relevant consultative bodies, so if you have any views on the proposed change, please get in touch with the LAPG direct.
Costs for remote hearings
It has been highlighted by providers, that since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and with more remote hearings being conducted, that solicitors are experiencing additional work related to their involvement with the remote hearing.
One example that we have heard of from solicitors is rehearsing with Counsel in advance of the hearing. The LAA are adapting to the evolving circumstances that solicitors are encountering and are now in discussion with HMCTS to decide where the costs incurred in respect of remote hearings should fall.
We will provide further updates, as soon as we hear anything.
Changes to claiming a level two private law family fee
We have heard that the LAA are proposing to make a minor change to Appendix 1 of the Cost Assessment Guidance in order to clarify the circumstances when the Level 2 private law family fee may be claimed.
A consultation is also underway in respect of this and will conclude on 16 June 2020.
The amendment is to reflect that the vast majority of these cases will involve a risk of harm to a client or child and that negotiations in these cases may take a different form.
At John M Hayes we stay up to date with any guidance or rules as set out by the LAA, so you can rest assured that we will prepare LAA compliant claims and supporting documentation ready to be submitted on CCMS to ensure you get paid promptly and first time. Please contact your local Regional Manager or call us on 0370 300 3780 now, for all your billing needs.
Tuesday 9th June 2020