About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Legal Aid Update: Private Law Proceedings

Kindly written & supplied by Jerry Bull (Managing Director of Atkins Hope, Solicitors in Croydon) & Samantha Little (Partner & Head of the Children Law Team at Russell-Cooke in Kingston) from their talk to the ALC Conference.


PRIVATE LAW PROCEEDINGS


1.1 Fixed fee for each area of law, so can get 3 fixed fees if acting in injunction, private law children and ancillary relief.

1.2 Different levels for payment in private law children – level 3 and 4 depending on stage of case. Escape is the 3 times the relevant fee – so if you have only got to level 3, escape is three times level 3 fee; but if you have reached level 4, the escape fee is 3 times the total of levels 3 and 4 for that particular area of work.

1.3 Have to go 3 times over to “beat” fixed fee and move to hourly rates. NO uplift applies in calculating whether fixed fee beaten. Note if you escape that advocacy remains in FAS – fixed payments.

1.4 Same exemptions as in FAS above

1.5 Do not forget you cannot include preparation for advocacy in this fee(save for a cancelled hearing- see above)

1.6 Have to time record on each category separately as have to claim separately for each area. You can “beat” fixed fee on one area but not on another.

1.7 Huge amount of admin needed for small claim.

1.8 Advise to separate out file to enable easy assessment (LAA will only need to assess the area of the file which has beaten fixed fee)

1.9 FAS scheme applies to all hearings but you can choose which category to claim within if more than one area dealt with at court

1.10 Same rules apply to moving from Family Help Higher to Legal Representation – ensure systems in place to make sure this is not missed.

1.11 Need to look more closely at costs limit bearing in mind you are entitled to fixed fee(s). Likely to need to apply to extend sooner than before.

1.12 Same penalty on transfer of legal aid. Each solicitor’s costs are assessed separately to determine whether beaten fixed fee.

1.13 Think carefully about POAs as can only claim 2 in any one year as before so cannot claim separately for each area of work covered by certificate

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