The Legal Aid Agency’s Client and Cost Management System (CCMS)
1 November 2017
Can you offer any tips and guidance for using CCMS?
Garden Court North Chambers was involved, in 2014, in the original CCMS pilot. As a consequence, our Practice Management Team – especially our Fees Manager, Alison Lillico – have been working with this system for some time and can provide the following tips and guidance.
At the beginning of the case:
- Ensure counsel has been allocated to the funding certificate from the outset. When multiple counsel are working on a case, all counsel involved need to be allocated individually;
- Assign a cost limit against the certificate for each individual counsel involved in the case to equate to work pending / work done to date. Do not leave the cost limit as zero as this will affect any interim payments payable to counsel before conclusion of a case; and
- Please provide the funding certificate to Chambers as soon as it is received. In the event a paper copy is not available please provide Chambers with the certificate reference number in order for us to search the CCMS system and confirm counsel are allocated to the case and a sufficient cost limit has been applied.
- The cost limit will need to be amended as and when further work is carried out. Please contact Chambers for an estimate of counsel’s costs for any pending work. For the majority of cases counsel will be claiming an enhancement to their fees. It is therefore imperative that a fee estimate is obtained from Chambers in advance of applying for further funds for a case;
- Inform Chambers when the final bill has been submitted via CCMS in order for Chambers to then claim counsel’s element of costs;
- A failure to send counsel’s claim within two weeks of the solicitor’s bill being submitted will result in the solicitor’s bill being rejected by the LAA; and
- Do not claim counsel’s costs within the solicitors element of the bill – Chambers will always claim on behalf of counsel.
A couple of issues to be aware of:
- Chambers has been made aware that providers are being advised that they do not need to allocate a cost amount to counsel on allocation of a certificate and that allocation can wait until conclusion of the case and preparation of the final bill. Although this may be possible, it would be severely detrimental to counsel. A cost amount is required from the outset in order for counsel to claim interim payments during the life time of the case; and
- Notifications are not always received to advise counsel / Chambers the final bill has been submitted by the instructing solicitor. A failure to send counsel’s claim within two weeks of the solicitor’s bill being submitted will result in the solicitor’s bill being rejected by the LAA. Please ensure you inform Chambers directly that you have submitted your claims on CCMS.