Payment for travel and the appropriate apportionment of cost between clients: general policy

It is important that one publicly-funded client does not subsidise advice or representation provided to another client, whether legally-aided or not.  It must be clear and transparent in your accounts that travel – where appropriate – has been properly apportioned to ensure that

  • one client does not subsidise another client, as some grants may be subject to a contribution or clawback; and
  • there is no duplication of charging.

We have to deal with many thousands of individual accounts and it must be clear in each account what proportion of travel has been allocated to that account (see sections 10.10 to 10.16 below).

Travel costs: explanation and example of apportionment

Where you need to travel, whether to see a number of clients or conduct a number of hearings, you must apportion travel time by the number of cases dealt with – for example:

travel to and from hearing 1½ hr ¸ 3 cases = ½  hr each
waiting time 10.00 to 10.15 am
conduct time 10.15 to 1.00 pm

The total time allowed in the case in this example, three cases having called on this day, is 3½ hrs only (three hours conjoined waiting and advocacy time, plus the one half hour travel attributable to this case).  Other cases on the day covered by an ABWOR certificate would be dealt with in the same way.  Waiting time is allocated to the next case calling where advocacy is involved.

You must apportion all travel and mileage costs equally across all cases, whether legally assisted, privately funded or pro bono, and whether the cases involve the same client or different clients.  You must not charge travel and mileage against one case and nothing against the others as all costs must be apportioned equally across all cases.  As indicated, some cases may be subject to clawback or have contributions. Each case should reflect the actual cost incurred.

Any mileage charge should also be apportioned by the number of cases dealt with, dividing the total cost between each of the cases.

Travel costs and apportionment: specific information to provide with your account

The account should specify the number of clients seen and provide the name and reference number of each client seen.  This will allow us to cross-reference and verify cases.  For privately-funded and pro bono clients, state which of these applied and how many people you saw on this basis.

Travel costs and what is apportioned: costs, not time

It is the cost of travel, not the time involved that must be apportioned.    The actual time for travel is the same for all cases, and the cost, not the time, should be divided equally.

For example, if travelling time for a return trip for 6 clients with 8 files in total is 2 hours 10 minutes:

  • The cost (rounding the time up to 2¼ hours) would be £114.75 divided by 8, resulting in £14.34 being charged under each file.

If the cost was divided by the time by the number of files this would result in 16.25 minutes per file.  If you round this up to half an hour per file, you would then charge £25.50 per file, multiplied by 8, totalling £204.00 – the equivalent of four hours, which has no bearing on the actual time involved or the provisions for calculating fees set out in the Table of Fees. It is therefore important that you only apportion the cost of the journey.

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