Civil legal aid block fee accounts: travel time

In addition to the fees payable in this section travel time is allowable only in relation to an attendance at court, subject to the following conditions:

  • the solicitor claiming travel time is a solicitor with whom the client has had significant contact in relation to the conduct of the case
  • the solicitor’s attendance is necessary for the advancement of the case
  • the distance travelled is at least 10 miles in each direction from the solicitor’s normal place of work
  • when payment for travel time is claimed for more than one case, the time shall be apportioned equally among the various cases for which the solicitor attended court (including non-legally aided cases)
  • where it would be more cost effective to travel by public transport you shall do so.

Travel expenses may only be incurred where travel time is chargeable. We will pay travel at 45 pence per mile if travel by car, bus fare or standard class rail or air fare.

It is recognised that the reference to travelling by public transport where it is “cost effective” to do so is not simply a reference to the cost of travel in terms of outlay payment.

When undertaking travel you must be mindful of the time engaged when using public transport.

For example, if you travel by car although that may be more expensive than the equivalent bus fare the overall cost in terms of time and outlay may well be “cost effective” and in such cases we will allow this where appropriate.

Travel and use of local agents

You are reminded of the terms of regulation 7 of the Civil Fees Regulations and your obligation to instruct a local solicitor where it is more economical to do so.

Similarly, in assessing your claim we must determine what is considered reasonable in a judicial taxation, on a party and party basis, for conducting the proceedings in a proper manner.

This can sometimes be brought into sharp focus on issues such as travel.

We expect you to use local agents for court attendances particularly those in a distant locations, wherever possible, unless you can demonstrate you have had significant contact in relation to the conduct of the case and that it is reasonable and necessary to protect the client’s interests that you should attend court personally. You have to address this issue.

In forming a view as to whether you should attend, you should consider:

  • distance involved
  • nature and purpose of the hearing
  • how personal attendance will further the case
  • nature and complexity of the proceedings
  • availability of local agents

We would not, in normal circumstances, consider it reasonable for you to undertake the travel, and the increased expenditure where:

  • it is known in advance that the hearing is to be adjourned
  • the hearing is routine or procedural, or does not advance the cause
  • negotiations take place at court that could have been carried out earlier by correspondence.

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