Legal Aid: FAS Evidence Requirements Update In Light Of COVID-19 Restrictions

In light of the current circumstances, you will need to ensure that FAS is able to be claimed in accordance with the LAA’s revised/relaxed rules for the sealing of FAS forms. Please ensure that Advocates take note of the following and clarify any issues with the LAA prior to attending the hearing to ensure that you don’t lose out on your FAS payments on assessment.

LAA Full Guidance

A hearing may take place by any method directed by the court e.g. by either video or telephone conference without attendance at court. If the court directs an alternative method of hearing then the advocate will receive the appropriate fee as if the hearing had taken place at court.

However, in these cases the hearing time will start from the time that the telephone call/video conference is first attempted rather than the time that the hearing was listed.

Bolt-ons may be claimed for telephone/video hearings if appropriate although due to the nature of these hearings bolt-ons are less likely to be applicable. It is unlikely, for example, that the criteria for the expert bolt-on would be met.

As there will be no Advocates Attendance Form detailed notes of the hearing will need to be recorded and the claim justified on the CLAIM 1A or CLAIM 5A

The Current Proposed Standard Preamble is:

‘’ AND UPON the court noting:

1. The Court granted an application made on behalf of the _____ for remote attendance to this hearing. In respect of the parties attendance, they have attended, remotely, from ___ until ___ for the hearing.

2. The costs of remote hearing attendance are to be borne by HMCTS to enable the fair participation of all parties having due to regard to Government Guidance and recommendations by professional bodies regarding court attendance during the Covid 19 pandemic.

3. Due to the parties’ remote attendance at court, the parties have referred the Court to The Civil Finance Electronic Handbook which, at paragraph 6.11, states as follows: "We do not require an advocates

We wish you all good health during these times, and are doing our best to ensure cash flow remains consistent during these times for you.

attendance form where a hearing is heard by telephone or video conference. In its place, the court order and attendance notes should be submitted to verify the hearing”. For the avoidance of doubt, that is why the parties’ attendance times are recorded in the order as confirmation of the same. ‘’

We wish you all good health during these times, and are doing our best to ensure cash flow remains consistent during these times for you.

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