High cost cases: crime
For barristers and solicitors: what to do when crime matters become high cost cases, often known as very high cost cases (VHCCs).
Apply to the high cost crime team
Do this within 5 working days of:
- recognising the case as high cost
- the Plea and Case Management Hearing
What makes a case high cost can be found in Legal aid: high cost cases.
How a VHCC works:
- once the case has been designated a very high cost case (VHCC), there is no opt-out for suppliers from the contracting system
- where a case is designated as a VHCC, it will be conducted by accredited VHCC providers, apart from in exceptional circumstances
- for each VHCC, the defence team (solicitor and advocate) will be assigned a dedicated case manager from the high cost crime team
- it’s the case manager’s role to negotiate with solicitors and advocates what work they’ll do over the next 3 months
- payment is made at the end of each 3 month period, as long as the work falls within the tasks and hours agreed in advance
You might need further guidance on high cost case arrangements and contract documents for organisation and self-employed advocates.
Individual criminal case contract (ICC)
These documents set out the arrangements and rules for carrying out work on all cases where:
the VHCC definition is satisfied
the LAA believes the trial is likely to last for less than 60 days
These cases are to be paid at the rates in the Litigators’ Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) not high cost rates.
Individual Criminal Case (ICC) contract for signature 2013 (PDF, 166KB, 6 pages)
Individual Criminal Case (ICC) specification 2013 (PDF, 130KB, 15 pages)
Under the current VHCC arrangements, organisations and self-employed advocates wishing to work on crime cases classified as VHCCs have to obtain the VHCC accreditation.
To do so, they must meet the eligibility criteria set out at Annex A of the 2013 VHCC arrangements (PDF, 287KB, 29 pages) .
How to apply
If your firm wants to obtain VHCC accreditation, submit an application using our e-accreditation system. You can apply any time.
For further help, see the information for applicants (PDF, 360KB, 38 pages)
Self-employed advocates due to be instructed on VHCCs (ie cases with trial estimates over 60 days) will be invited to apply when appropriate.
For further help, see the information for self-employed advocates (PDF, 305KB, 29 pages)
How to appeal
The LAA case manager and the defence team negotiate hours for each stage of the case in advance. If they can’t reach agreement on hours for a specific task, there’s a right of appeal.
The process and timescales are set out in section 6 of the VHCC specifications.
Appeals: crime high cost cases covers VHCC panel arrangements and decisions (January 2014).
If you still want to appeal, phone: 0151 235 6924 for more information.
Livenote is a real time court transcription service provided by Merrill Legal Solutions.
The cost is divided equally amongst the court, prosecution and defence.
To get funding for the defence share of the cost, your defence team must send a Livenote application form (MS Word Document, 121KB) in an email to the high cost crime team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the HCC team
Phone (Liverpool): 0151 235 6924