Handbooks Index

 

Part 4: Civil legal aid


Chapter 9

High cost and complex cases

 

9.1 High cost and complex cases
9.2 Identification of high cost cases
9.3 Dedicated staff members
9.4 How we will help you with high cost cases
9.5 Cases where you may wish to seek early advice from us
9.6 Avoiding duplication
9.7 Meeting to discuss issues

 

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NOTE
This new chapter was added in March 2010.

9.1 High cost and complex cases

This chapter sets out the special arrangements we have for dealing with high cost and complex civil cases.

We have a procedure to identify, monitor and help solicitors in cases identified as being potentially complex, voluminous or time-consuming: in short, “high cost cases”.

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9.2 Identification of high cost cases

There can be identifiable triggers in a civil case which point towards a case potentially being high cost or complex. These factors can usually be identified at a relatively early stage of a case and tend to show a case which is likely to be markedly different from the norm.

Each factor may be significant on its own, but more usually several such factors indicate a potentially complex case. Such factors include:

A typical high cost case would be likely to cost over £150,000.

Because certain factors are present in a case that point to complexity or high costs, it does not follow that the case will, in practice, prove to be especially complex or high in cost to the Legal Aid Fund. Reparation cases in the Court of Session may appear initially to be likely to be complex or high cost but if, as is often the case in such cases, expenses are awarded in favour of the legally aided party, there is no cost to the Fund.

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9.3 Dedicated staff members

Where we identify a potentially high cost case, we will nominate a dedicated Board solicitor who can become knowledgeable about the facts and circumstances of the particular case. You can approach (by telephone, email or letter), that contact directly in the knowledge that they will understand the circumstances surrounding the case and your approach to it, and that you will not have to repeat the details unnecessarily with every sanction request.

The contact can

Using your dedicated contact should allow us to

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9.4 How we will help you with high cost cases

We will contact you if we identify a case as potentially high cost and complex. However, it is in your own interests to contact us if you think a case is likely to lead to high costs.

We will give you the name, direct dial telephone number and email address of the Board solicitor assigned to the case.

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9.5 Cases where you may wish to seek early advice from us

Examples of occasions when you may wish to seek early advice before applying for legal aid include, for example, where you want to ask us

Discussing these issues with us removes the need for us to continue applications for more information or reject them for want of information, and leads to fewer queries of solicitors’ accounts at the assessment stage.

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9.6 Avoiding duplication

With dedicated members of staff following a case throughout its history, we also aim to identify any unnecessary duplication of work – for example, in cases where there is more than one legally aided party and costs could be shared (valuations in matrimonial cases are a good example).

As with any other case, if you disagree with a decision of your dedicated solicitor in a particular sanction request, another Board solicitor will consider any review.

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9.7 Meeting to discuss issues

In some cases, we may seek an early meeting with solicitors and counsel to discuss particular preparation and potential accounting issues.

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