Q&As

If a party to litigation has the benefit of a public funding certificate, can they claim costs awarded in their favour and payable by their opponent at private client rates (eg in accordance with the guideline rates) or are they restricted to the hourly rate that the legal aid board will pay to their solicitors?

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Produced in partnership with Alex Bagnall of Total Legal Solutions
Published on LexisPSL on 15.01.2018

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A produced in partnership with Alex Bagnall of Total Legal Solutions provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a party to litigation has the benefit of a public funding certificate, can they claim costs awarded in their favour and payable by their opponent at private client rates (eg in accordance with the guideline rates) or are they restricted to the hourly rate that the legal aid board will pay to their solicitors?
  • The indemnity principle
  • Payment of legal aid lawyers
  • Exceptions to these general rules
  • Older legal aid certificates
  • Effect of the above

If a party to litigation has the benefit of a public funding certificate, can they claim costs awarded in their favour and payable by their opponent at private client rates (eg in accordance with the guideline rates) or are they restricted to the hourly rate that the legal aid board will pay to their solicitors?

In this Q&A it has been assumed that it is referring to a situation in which the legal aid certificate was issued after 01.04.2013, and have taken into consideration the issues raised in relation to the indemnity principle and the amount which lawyers who undertake legal aid work (legal aid lawyers) can be paid for that work.

The indemnity principle

The indemnity principle operates so as to prevent a receiving party recovering a greater amount in costs than it is liable to pay to its solicitors (see Practice Note: Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion).

The receiving party must be liable to pay its solicitor no more than is claimed for every item which is claimed (see General of Berne Insurance Company v Jardine Reinsurance Management Ltd). Thus, the hourly rate which is claimed from the paying party cannot be more than the hourly rate which the receiving party is liable to pay.

Payment of legal aid lawyers

The charging rates which are payable to legal aid lawyers are substantially lower than those

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