News story

Civil news: accurate counsel payment lists help reduce rejects

Reminder to providers to give us a breakdown of payments made to counsel under a certificate.

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It is important to give us a complete breakdown of counsel payments to reduce the possibility of rejects when filling in claim forms for both the:

  • Family Advocacy Scheme
  • Family Graduated Fee Scheme

The simplest way to do this is to fill in a ‘counsel matrix’. This allows you to give the Legal Aid Agency a breakdown of counsel payments under a certificate.

You can do this within the relevant form or by sending a completed ‘counsel matrix’ before a claim is submitted.

Sending ‘matrix’ within claim form

A ‘counsel matrix’ can be found inside both the ‘CIV Claim5’ and ‘CIV Claim5A’ form.

This allows you to break down the payments that your records show have been made to counsel.

We can then use this completed ‘matrix’ to check our records and identify any discrepancies.

Sending ‘matrix’ before claim submissions

An alternative is to complete a standalone ‘counsel matrix’ form before submission of any claim.

Simply complete the ‘matrix’ with counsel payments you know about. We will then check our records to confirm amounts that have been paid.

This approach means any discrepancies can be resolved before you submit your claim, making a reject less likely. The ‘Excel’ version of the form is preferred as this allows calculations to be made more easily and also helps caseworkers when responding.

Benefits

Completing the ‘counsel matrix’ in this way makes it simpler for the Legal Aid Agency to reconcile the amounts we have paid with those set out by the solicitor.

It means we can:

  • make sure that counsel fees are all paid before we settle the solicitor’s final bill and close down the certificate
  • determine any refund or statutory charge liability once solicitor’s final bill is paid
  • check that any assessment on the claim takes into account work carried out by counsel
  • make sure all work is within the cost limit

Further information

FGF and FAS claim forms – to download ‘CIV Claim5’ and ‘CIV Claim5A’ containing ‘counsel matrix’ grids

Counsel matrix: details of counsel claims paid to date – to download standalone ‘counsel matrix’

contactcivil@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk – email to use when sending standalone ‘counsel matrix’

Published 30 July 2015