Legal Aid rates for experts were first introduced by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) in the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 and the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013. Since then, the Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses has been updated a few more times and the latest version, Version 4, was published in April 2015.
Legal Aid rates apply in a case where a provision of assistance called Legal Aid, has been granted by the Legal Aid Agency to a person who would otherwise not be able to afford legal representation and access to justice.
In such cases, The Legal Aid Agency will not pay fees or rates in excess of those listed in the Remuneration Regulations unless, in exceptional circumstances, they had granted prior authorisation to exceed those fees or rates.
Solicitors must always apply for prior authorisation where they seek to incur expert costs at higher rates than those set out in the Remuneration Regulations for that service. In all other cases, prior authorisation is not mandatory.
Where a client is eligible for legal aid and requires an interpreter then their solicitor will secure an interpreter on their behalf. The interpreter will be available at the court to translate what the solicitor and client say to each other. This will usually involve discussions outside of the court room. It may be appropriate for the legally aided interpreter to be in court during the hearing, e.g. a solicitor want to give instructions to their client in court or to discuss issues that have been raised in court at any point during the hearing.
(Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses – Page 15)
However, it may be in their interest request prior authorisation whenever costs are either unusual in nature or unusually large.
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) cannot pay fees or rates in excess of those listed in the Remuneration Regulations unless we have granted prior authority to exceed the fees or rates. This will be in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances are defined in the Remuneration Regulations and are where the expert’s evidence is key to the client’s case and either the complexity of the material is such that an expert with a high level of seniority is required; or the material is of such a specialised and unusual nature that only very few experts are available to provide the necessary evidence.
(Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses – Page 4)
In order to avoid any potential issues with LAA funding, many solicitors often ask translators and interpreters to send them a written quote detailing their rates and any relevant charges before officially confirming the use of their services.
Where an interpreter is claiming a minimum charge we would expect these to be justified on submission of either the claim or the prior authority/CW3 application. In order for us to make an assessment as to whether these costs were reasonable, the provider would need to demonstrate that there was a scarcity of resource and therefore it was necessary to instruct an interpreter who claimed for that minimum charge.
This can be done by providing written evidence from at least three local service providers that they charge a 1hr minimum fee. Any justification or evidence provided must be dated within 12 months of the instruction of the interpreter. It is not sufficient for the provider to state that this is a standard charge that is claimed on all cases. Where no justification has been provided we will assess to the actual time taken.
(Civil Finance Electronic Handbook – Page 66)
London / Non-London experts
The Remuneration Regulations set out that there are different rates for certain types of experts working inside and outside of London. The location of the expert is the determining factor as to whether London or non-London rates or fees apply.
London rates will apply where the expert is based within a London Borough and where applicable the location of the expert’s registered office will be used to determine which rate will apply. Where an expert works from or has a number of different office locations, the office closest to the provider will determine which rates apply
- Legal Aid Rates – Interpreters
- Legal Aid Rates – Translation
- Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses
- Civil Finance Electronic Handbook
Because professional interpreters often spend hours, even days away from home, a simple request for a written quote can become fairly difficult to fulfil. We know how important it is to be fast. That is why we have created a FREE LEGAL AID QUOTE CALCULATOR (using Legal Aid rates for interpreters) which can be used to create written quotes in seconds. All you need is your telephone and access to the internet.
Legal Aid Quote Calculator
Use this tool to generate a quote by filling in the details. You will receive your quote in pdf format by email, which you can forward to your customer.
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