The LAA have made use of the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) mandatory for all legal aid providers from the 1st February 2016.
We have been using the system for over a year and have developed our own internal process for managing the various tasks that need to be managed within CCMS.
There are certain tasks that we will need you to complete in order that we can claim counsels fees and we have included these tasks in our process.
We would ask that you consider our process as set out below and:
- If you are happy with our method of managing cases then you need do no more.
- If you have any queries or wish to work with us on developing a system tailored for you then please contact our Senior Clerk, Scott Baldwin, who will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements.
Assigning counsel & allocation of funds
Every barrister practising from St. Mary’s Chambers is self employed and only receives their income for publicly funded work when the LAA pays. This therefore relies on efficient billing processes to ensure cash flow. In CCMS until counsel is assigned to the case and allocated the appropriate funds it is impossible for us to claim their fees; we would therefore ask that this is done at the earliest possible opportunity.
A guide to how to assign counsel and allocate funds can be downloaded here: Assigning Counsel
Quick guides on all aspects of CCMS can be found on the CCMS training site: CCMS Training
Estimated and actual fees
We will endeavour to obtain the necessary information from counsel to calculate the actual fee within 7 days of the work being done. We will pass these details on to you as soon as possible thereafter. If you would prefer an estimated fee our clerks can provide one at any stage providing they know the level of court, type and length of hearing.
Submission of claim
If all the appropriate documentation is available and counsel has been assigned and allocated funds on CCMS then we will bill the case through CCMS and send you a fee note detailing the actual fees that counsel has claimed within 14 days of the hearing. The LAA normally communicate directly with you when counsel has been paid with details of any reductions to counsel’s fees. We may however be appealing any reductions made and would ask you to contact us to confirm the position.
Problems submitting claims
If we still do not have all the requisite information from you which is required by the LAA to produce a bill and/or we have not been assigned to CCMS and allocated funds then we will send reminder e-mails at regular intervals.
If the matter is still not resolved and no satisfactory explanation for the delay has been provided, then we will be forced to raise the issue with your LAA Contract Manager and we may also look to you for payment of counsel’s fee. Obviously this is not a course of action we want to take and if there is an issue with a case we ask that you contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss possible solutions.