High cost civil cases
- What is a high cost case?
- Managing high cost cases
- High cost family cases
- Case plans
- For more information
The LSC's Special Cases Unit (SCU) is responsible for managing funding for complex or high cost civil cases which fall into four types:
- individual very high cost cases: where costs are expected to to exceed £25,000, such as The Children Act 1989, Clinical Negligence and Judicial Review cases
- Multi-Party Actions: these range from 1,000 claimant actions to 10 claimant actions
- Exceptional funding cases: when funding is approved outside of the Funding Code Criteria
- Exceptional 'One Off' contracts with firms without franchises: eg where clients run out of money during a case and the firm has no franchise.
The Funding Code: Criteria - Section 6 sets out the extra requirements and the referral criteria for these cases.
All high cost civil cases must be referred to the Special Cases Unit. Referral criterial are in section 6 of the Funding Code: Criteria. Additional information is in:
- Vol 1 Part C of the LSC Manual: arrangements for multi-party actions
- Section 6(8)b of the Access to Justice Act: referral criteria for exceptional funding cases.
Each case will have an individual contract based on an agreed Case Plan and the price for each fully costed proposed stage.
The Case Plan will change as the case develops as future events are difficult to predict in the early stages. Further guidance is in Section 15 of the Funding Code: Decision Making Guidance.
The LSC consulted with The Law Society and Bar Council on how to manage these cases and has produced:
- a Solicitors Information Pack
- a Barristers Information Pack
- Investigative Help Case Plan
- Non-matrimonial case Plan (all other cases such as Judicial Review, Appeals, Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury and other cases pursued through the Woolf multi-track procedures).
All are in the Documents panel.
High cost family cases are managed in either our London or South Tyneside offices.
Generally London deals with any case where Queen’s Counsel or two counsel have been instructed and all Child Abduction Acts cases and TOLATA cases. South Tyneside deals with all single counsel cases except Child Abduction and TOLATA cases.
Under Documents you will find information packs for both London cases and South Tyneside cases.
They provide information and assistance on our procedures for individual very high cost family cases and set out what actions should be taken when you take on a new case which is going to be very expensive, or when an existing case increases in cost to become very expensive.
Under “Case plans” you will find an “Events” model plan used with London SCU and a standard case plan used by the South Tyneside team.
Contact details for each team are contained in their relevant information packs.
The five standard Case Plans set out:
- a description of the case
- an assessment of its prospects
- the legal and factual issues to be investigated and resolved
- details of costs to date
- the selection of counsel and experts to be used on the case.
They include a Fully Costed Stage Plan for the next stage of work.
A full Case Plan is required in all Litigation Support cases to assess effectiveness and to track progress of the case.
If disbursements only are being funded detailed cost information on these only will be needed.
The stages must reflect the:
- type of case
- usual case management requirements of the courts
- opportunities for continuation of funding to be considered.
Typically these will be in line with the judge's directions in Children Act cases or the court stages in Woolf multi-track clinical negligence cases.
The LSC's Annual Report sets out an analysis of applications for and grants of exceptional funding.
To contact the Special Cases Unit write to:
Legal Services Commission
3rd/4th Floor, Invicta House
Tel: 01273 878870
Criminal high cost cases are managed by the LSC's Complex Crime Unit. More information is on the High cost criminal cases page.
Last updated: 10 March 2010