The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has today issued an update on the requirements for evidence in support of disbursements. A link to the page is at the bottom of this article; however it needs to be pointed out that there is an error in the information provided.
It states that “Vouchers are required for all disbursements of £20 and above (excluding VAT)”. This is contradictory to the submission checklists and previous guidance which stated that the figure was inclusive of VAT. We suspected that this was an error in the news item and the LAA have confirmed that to be the case. Therefore vouchers are required for disbursements of £20 and above (including VAT).
It is expected that vouchers will be available in the majority of cases but where they are not a copy of the ledger entry or letter sending payment will suffice. In respect of expert fees the invoice needs to show a full breakdown of the fee, including the hourly rates charged. The LAA accept that will be some circumstances where the expert was instructed some time ago and it is no longer possible to get a full breakdown. In these circumstances you will need to provide:
A detailed explanation of why you are unable to obtain a breakdown of the work and/or hourly rate and
A copy of your instructions to the expert.
A copy of the report when the claim is assessed
An additional requirement is now also in place for drug testing. The LAA require a copy of the court order setting out which drugs were to be tested or a copy of the attendance note showing what was agreed. We would therefore recommend that details of the testing required are either set out in the order or that you make sure that it is recorded in the attendance note. It acknowledges that some firms undertake testing of a variety of drugs as standard and in those cases the LAA will require an explanation of why that approach was taken.
The article can be found by clicking on the following link: