Legal Aid Agency, 'Civil news: fee rules change for mental health remote hearings' (16/7/20)
Adjournment fee for remote hearing (1) The LAA has amended the Standard Civil Contract 2018 to specify that the adjourned hearing fee may be claimed for remote hearings where the representative has incurred travel, advocacy or (if 15 minutes elapse since the scheduled or actual start time) provided that reasonable steps were taken to prevent those costs being necessary. (2) The new rule will be applied retrospectively.
The new rules
9.85A.— When a MHT hearing that has been listed as a Remote Hearing is adjourned or postponed to another day, or is otherwise cancelled, on the day of the hearing:
- (a) at the request of the MHT or Responsible Clinician; or
- (b) in circumstances where you make a request to adjourn, postpone or cancel the MHT hearing, and where you could not have otherwise reasonably avoided making such a request,
and in either case you have incurred:
- 1. some travel costs by travelling to, and arriving at, the client’s location to take part in the MHT hearing in their presence; and/or
- 2. some advocacy costs in putting the client’s case forward to the MHT before the MHT hearing was adjourned, postponed or cancelled; and/or
- 3. some attendance costs for attending a Remote Hearing, provided that a minimum of fifteen minutes elapsed between the hearing having started (or having been scheduled to start) and the hearing having been adjourned, postponed or cancelled (as applicable), without you providing any advocacy;
then provided that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent any of the costs set out in sub-paragraphs 1, 2 and/or 3 above being incurred, for example, by seeking an adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity before the MHT hearing has started where it is clear that one will need to be requested, then you may claim an Adjourned Hearing Fee.
9.85B.— For the avoidance of doubt, Paragraph 9.85A applies to any claim for an Adjourned Hearing Fee in respect of a Remote Hearing which has been adjourned, postponed or cancelled since the issue of the "Pilot Practice Direction: Contingency Arrangements in the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal" by Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals on 19 March 2020, including any procedures for assessing remuneration or subsequent appeals, and regardless of the date the claim was submitted to the Legal Aid Agency. The reasons behind the adjournment, postponement or cancellation of the Remote Hearing should be documented on file along with a justification, and any relevant evidence, that the circumstances warrant the Adjourned Hearing Fee to be claimed.