Top Tip - Keeping on top of costs limitations in family legal aid cases
Exceeding a costs limitation results in you not being paid for all of the work that you have undertaken and therefore it is important to ensure your limitation is sufficient.
If possible try to ensure that your time recording is entered into your case management software so that it can display your 'advocacy' costs (time associated with hearings attended as an advocate) separately from your other profit costs in fixed fee cases. This is important because 'advocacy' is paid by FAS and therefore does not contribute to whether you escape the fixed fee. To know what your costs are at any stage you need to know whether you will be claiming the fixed fee or claiming at hourly rates as an exceptional case and you will also need to know the total of your FAS fees (which can often be significantly higher than the work would be at hourly rates).
It is also important to remember to leave room for the following in your cost limitation:
Enhancements (if applicable)
Disbursements (incurred and to be incurred)
The costs of preparing and checking the bill
Are you concerned that you can’t accurately identify the current level of costs on a particular case? Contact your local John M Hayes office who will be happy to assist with an interim costing of the file.
David Smith is our Head of Legal Aid and Deputy to the Chief Executive, he is responsible for ensuring that our draftsmen are aware of all the latest legal aid developments and also delivers regular training seminars for Solicitors.