On 17 January 2013, the Legal Services Commission issued clarification about fees in high-cost case plans. The full guidance is set out below:
Clarification about fees in high cost case plans.
We would like to update providers about the use of Family Advocacy Scheme (FAS) fees in high cost case plans.
We have previously advised that FAS would apply to both solicitor advocates and counsel in high cost cases.
Having further reviewed this position, the very high cost case (VHCC) team can now confirm that FAS should only be used by counsel in high cost cases.
Solicitor advocacy claims should instead be made using the relevant prescribed hourly rates.
This is to make the process of case planning simpler for both providers and suppliers, by ensuring a consistent approach to solicitors' costs.
Case plans submitted previously
We understand that there may be a number of case plans submitted based on our previous advice.
In order to avoid the unnecessary redrafting of case plans, the VHCC team will consider historical submissions in the format they were previously submitted in.
So, if your case plan has fees which come under the FAS scheme, it will not be returned for amendment. This will also apply to the payment of bills for cases agreed previously.
Future case plans
Moving forward, from the publication of this article, the VHCC team will require that case plans be submitted detailing solicitor advocacy costs using prescribed hourly rates, not the FAS fees.
Counsel should continue to claim in accordance with FAS.
Alternatively, both solicitors and counsel may wish to consider using the event model pricing scheme, which provides a simplified case planning and billing process.