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  • Karen Kutter, Director

Legal Aid: Make The Most of Payments On Account to Assist With Cash Flow During These Uncertain Time

The LAA have recently sent out notification to remind Legal Aid firms to make the most of the Payment On Account options to assist with Cash Flow in Civil cases. With the current social distancing measures in place, this is likely to impact your business in some capacity over the next few months, so it is advisable to make the most of these facilities if you don’t already.

Kutter Walters deals with many standard Legal Aid Civil Claims and High Costs Events Care matters and below details out the processes to follow to claim your POA’s in both. Payments on Account in civil cases

In civil representation cases you are entitled to claim a Payment On Account for your profit and costs incurred throughout the life of your legal aid certificate. This is subject to the following restrictions:

• certificate has been live for at least 3 months • you claim within the agreed cost limit of the certificate • you do not claim more than 2 profit cost POAs within a 12-month period

You will be paid 75% of the costs incurred to date. In a fixed fee case, 75% of the applicable fixed fees, including under the Family Advocacy Scheme (FAS).

This payment will be recouped and replaced with the final payment upon submission of your final claim. Here are some resources:

• CCMS: you should refer to the CCMS Quick Guides ‘Payment on Account – Profit Costs’.

These can be found on the Managing Live Cases site: https://ccmstraining.justice.gov.uk/Quick - guides/Quickguides/managing-live-cases-1

• Paper claims – submit your POA through eForms • Detailed guidance on POAs in general – refer to chapter 15 of the Civil Finance electronic handbook.

Payments On Account in Events High Costs Cases

Interim payments can be made on request for all costs and counsel’s fees to date once a High Cost Case Contract has been signed and lodged with the LAA. Further payments can be claimed either when six months have elapsed or six events have occurred since the last payment was made, whichever is earlier. Payments will be made by way of 100% payment on account of the number of events to date.

For Counsel fees specifically, please note, as long as funds are available, you may continue to claim FAS payments until you are able to bill your events, or apply via CCMS for a Payment on Account but the system will limit any such request to 75%.

On billing all disbursements and experts’ fees will be subject to assessment by the costs assessment team which is completely separate from the VHCC team. Any pre-existing grant of prior authority will be taken into account.

How to claim your Interim Payment:

• Go onto the LAA : Managing Live Cases site and locate the QuickGuide for this at

https://ccmstraining.justice.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/7786/CCMS_Provider__Claiming_100_POAs__4_0.pdf

• CCMS restricts Profit Cost POAs to 75%, so payment should be obtained via a Disbursement POA, which will automatically be recouped on payment of the final bill. Please follow the steps below to claim for 100% profit costs.

• Follow the simple CCMS steps on the QuickGuide to claim your costs.

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