Solicitor attending court – when you can charge the advocacy rate

The advocacy rate is only payable where you conduct the hearing. The non-advocacy rate is applicable where you are sitting behind counsel.

You will require our prior approval in a case that involves two solicitors where both consider it necessary to attend court.  In those circumstances, only one solicitor is entitled to charge the advocacy rate.  The second solicitor will be paid at the appropriate non-advocacy rate.

Advocacy Fee

The fees are based on any time incurred up to the first half hour with all subsequent time charged per quarter hour (or part thereof).

If the same matter:

  • Goes beyond the initial half hour, you are entitled thereafter to be paid for each quarter hour (or part thereof)

Where you attend court for one client who has been granted more than one certificate in the process, the minimum advocacy period covers all time in the combined related cases up to the first half hour.

Lunch break

Any time spent taking lunch, whether at a local court or otherwise, is your own time and is not chargeable to the Fund.  It is important to record the actual times that the court sat.

For example, if the narrative states ‘conducting the hearing 10:00-16:00’ we will automatically make an abatement of 1 hour for lunch.

Where a charge is made during the lunch break, the account should include a detailed narrative to support the charge.  If necessary work is done during lunch, the appropriate rate based on the nature of the work done is applicable.

Waiting time

Waiting time is only payable from the time appointed by the court for the hearing or from the conclusion of any other business ending prior to the case, whichever is shorter.

The following is not considered waiting time:

  • Work done in advance of the time appointed by the court.
  • Work done following the conclusion of the hearing, if on an overnight stay at a distant court.

Payment for such work will only be considered where it can be shown that necessary work (other than waiting time) has been undertaken. Your account should detail all chargeable work undertaken during this period.

Gaps in waiting time

Waiting time must be allocated to the next case that calls.  Where a gap appears, you must explain why the gap occurred.  There may be any number of reasons, but if another case called during that period, the waiting should have been applied to that case.

Example 1

Waiting                 10:00 to 10:15                       – 15 minutes

GAP

Waiting                 10:20 to 10:35                       – 15 minutes

Court                    10:35 to 10:50                       – 15 minutes

Where another case is dealt with at 10:15, the waiting time is chargeable to that case.  For example, if the case dealt with at 10:15 is a fixed payments case then the waiting time is already included in the fixed payment and cannot be attributed to a time and line account.

The chargeable time is 30 minutes, which is claimed as one half hour advocacy block.

It is not appropriate to charge as one half hour advocacy block and one quarter hour non-advocacy block.

Example 2

Waiting                 10:00 to 10:10                       – 10 minutes

GAP

Waiting                 10:20 to 10:35                       – 15 minutes

Court                    10:35 to 10:55                       – 20 minutes

 

In the event that you took a short break (for whatever reason), the waiting prior to 10:10 is chargeable to this case.

The chargeable time involved is 45 minutes, which is claimed as one half hour advocacy block and one quarter hour non-advocacy block.

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