Experts fees in public law cases - evidence to support practitioners
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Administrator
There is an ongoing  dispute between the LSC and practitioners about experts fees in public law family cases. Amongst other things, the LSC is reducing fees on assessment and blaming practitioners for failing to obtain prior authority. This puts practitioners in a difficult position, to put it mildly, as the expert will usually have been paid long before the case is closed. The practitioner may well have to bear the loss. However, we have found evidence that explains why practitioners have not been protecting themselves to a great extent by obtaining prior authority - the LSC asked them not to! See Focus 48: ' Solicitors are urged not to seek prior authority  in cases subject to the Protocol for Judicial Case  Management in public law Children Act cases  unless the expense involved is exceptional in  amount or nature (for example it relates to a  residential assessment or is in excess of £5,000  per funded client). This is because the process is  discretionary and generally no prior authority is  justified to incur costs in relation to obtaining a  report or to a court attendance by an expert  whose instruction and work has been  authorised specifically by the court. Applications  for prior authority may serve only to delay the  instruction of the expert and the court  timetable for the proceedings. However, an  amendment to the costs limitation may still be  necessary.Where prior authority or an  amendment to the costs limitation is sought,  details of the work to be undertaken, the rates  applied and the total cost apportioned to the  funded client must be provided (including, in  any case where it is relevant, confirmation that  any charges for or expenses in relation to  treatment, therapy, training or other  interventions of an educative or rehabilitative  nature have been identified, costed and  excluded).'

About the author(s)

Description: Vicky Ling - author
Vicky Ling is a consultant specialising in legal aid practice and a founder member of the Law Consultancy Network.