We also have to consider that it is reasonable for public funds to meet the cost of using the expert and whether the costs of an expert report can be shared with another party or parties. We must be satisfied that it is reasonable and appropriate in all the circumstances of the case to approve that expenditure.
In your approval application for an expert you must address:
Where we have given you approval for a report by an expert and you subsequently need to cite that expert to give evidence in the court proceedings, you do not have to apply for further approval for these experts’ associated costs (unless the costs are likely to exceed £3,000, in which case you would require to submit an approval application for unusually large expenditure).
Where another party in the proceedings has been granted approval for a report from an expert on the condition that it is jointly instructed with your client but where the costs of the report have been approved under the other party’s grant of legal aid, if you then wish to cite this expert to give evidence in the court proceedings, you do not have to apply for further approval for this expert’s associated costs (again, assuming the costs are not likely to exceed £3,000) but you must make it clear in your account that approval for this joint report was granted under a different grant of legal aid and provide that party’s reference number if known.
When applying for approval of an expert, you should:
You should satisfy yourself that the expert would be prepared to attend court if necessary.
Any approval granted by us may include a condition that costs may not exceed a specified amount or that specified work may not be carried out.
Where a report has been jointly instructed by parties including the Reporter and/or non-legally assisted parties, then one ‘lead’ assisted party should , where possible, submit one approval application for the entire cost of the expert, report or fees (less any share being paid by the Reporter and/or non legally assisted party or parties if appropriate) to avoid the administrative burden of all legally assisted parties applying for approval for their individual pro-rata share.
Such an application must contain the following information:
It should be noted that for all cases where an expert is jointly instructed, each party will be responsible for their pro-rata share of the final amount due to be paid to the expert (even if this exceeds the actual figure approved by us).
When giving approval to employ an expert witness, we will impose a limit on their cost. You must make it clear to the expert:
We will pay only up to the amount that we approve and you may be personally liable to the expert for any extra costs they incur over and above that amount we approve.
Where an expert has been told of the limit, but it has been unavoidably exceeded, we may still meet the expert’s reasonable costs if this is appropriate. In this case, you will require to apply to us for retrospective approval.
When we grant approval subject to a ceiling of expenditure, this does not allow the expert witness to automatically claim a fee at that ceiling. In particular, we expect to see in the fee note submitted:
Any experts or professionals instructed should be informed that any travel incurred will only be reimbursed at half their hourly rate.
General rules for expenses:
It would be helpful if the experts were reminded that, to assess their claim properly and to prevent delays, a full breakdown of the work undertaken should be provided for the final accounting stage.
All receipts and vouching should be produced with the claims made. If the claim includes meetings and/or travel, the start and finish times should be included against each item.
Procedures after legal aid is granted
Find out what documents/information should be provided when applying for approval for unusual expenditure or work likely to involve unusually large expenditure.
Procedures after legal aid is granted
Learn about what information Reporters will disclose in proof proceedings, when sanction is needed before taking precognitions and joint or shared precognitions