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  Expert fees in publicy funded cases

Expert witness fee caps introduced from 3 October

As part of the legal aid reform programme, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) will be implementing changes to experts’ fees on 3 October 2011. The changes will introduce maximum rates for certain types of expert witness working in legally aided cases. These rates will apply to all work undertaken by expert witnesses involved in all legally aided civil, family and crime work with a case start date or representation order date on or after 3 October 2011.

The rates were consulted on as part of the Ministry of Justice consultation ‘Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales’. Needless to say, despite receiving overwhelmingly negative feedback from their consultees on the concept of capped fees, the rather random categorisation of expert witnesses and the fee rates, the LSC has ploughed on with its plans almost unchanged.

The LSC has the power to increase the fixed fees or rates if it considers it reasonable to do so due to exceptional circumstances. These are where the expert’s evidence is key to the client’s case and either:

  1. the complexity of the material is such that an expert with a high level of seniority is required; or
  2. the material is of such a specialised and unusual nature that only very few experts are available to provide the necessary evidence

Payments on account for experts fees will be rejected if they exceed the codified rate unless a prior authority has been granted demonstrating that the case is exceptional.

Where an expert witness is not listed in the Payment Annex to either the 2010 Standard Civil Contract or the 2007 Unified Contract or in Schedule 6 of the Criminal Defence Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order 2011, then the LSC or the Court will assess these costs on an individual basis. In these cases, when considering the rate at which to fund the expert service, the LSC:

  1. must have regard to the rates set out in Part 14 of the Payment Annex; and
  2. may require a number of quotes for provision of the relevant service to be submitted to the Commission.

Prior authority is not mandatory. The contract provisions provide that prior authority may be submitted whenever the proposed incurred costs are either unusual in nature or unusually large. If prior authority is not sought and costs exceed the expert rates and fees contained in the Funding Order, then they will be subject to assessment and may be reduced.

In the following tables, all figures are hourly rates unless noted otherwise.

The Community Legal Service (Funding) (Amendment No.2) Order 2011, Schedule 6

Type of expert witness
Non-London 
London
A&E consultant  £126 £135
Accident reconstruction  £90 £68
Accountant: Partner £144 £144
Accountant: Manager  £108 £108
Accountant: General staff £50 £50
Accountant  £80 £80
Anaesthetist  £135 £135
Architect  £99 £90
Cardiologist  £144 £144
Cell telephone site analysis  £90 £90
Child psychiatrist  £135 £90
Child psychologist  £126 £90
Computer expert  £90 £90
Consultant engineer  £90 £68
Dentist  £117 £117
Dermatologist  £108 £108
Disability consultant  £68 £68
DNA (per person) – per test of sample 
£315
£315
DNA (per person) – preparation of report  £90 £90
Doctor (GP)  £99 £90
Employment consultant  £68 £68
Enquiry agent  £32 £23
ENT surgeon  £126 £126
General surgeon  £135 £90
Geneticist  £108 £108
GP (records report) [Fixed fee]
£63 
£90
Gynaecologist  £135 £90
Haematologist  £122 £90
Handwriting expert  £90 £90
Interpreter  £32 £25
Lip reader / Signer  £72 £41
Mediator  £126 £126
Medical consultant  £135 £90
Medical microbiologist  £135 £135
Meteorologist [Fixed fee in London] £126
£180
Midwife  £90 £90
Neonatologist  £135 £135
Neurologist  £153 £90
Neuropsychiatrist  £158 £90
Neuroradiologist  £171 £171
Neurosurgeon  £171 £90
Nursing expert  £81 £81
Obstetrician  £135 £135
Occupational therapist  £68 £68
Oncologist  £140 £140
Orthopaedic surgeon  £144 £144
Paediatrician  £135 £90
Pathologist [Fixed fee in London] £153
£540
Pharmacologist  £122 £122
Photographer  £32 £23
Physiotherapist  £81 £81
Plastic surgeon  £135 £135
Process server  £32 £23
Psychiatrist  £135 £90
Psychologist  £117 £90
Radiologist  £135 £135
Rheumatologist  £135 £135
Risk assessment expert  £63 £63
Speech therapist  £99 £99
Surveyor  £50 £50
Telecoms expert  £90 £90
Toxicologist  £135 £135
Urologist  £135 £135
Vet  £90 £90
Voice recognition  £117 £90

 

 

The Criminal Defence Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order 2011, Schedule 6

Type of expert witness 

Non-London

London
A&E consultant  £126 £135
Accident reconstruction  £90 £68
Accountant: Partner £144 £144
Accountant: Manager  £108 £108
Accountant: General staff £50 £50
Accountant  £80 £80
Anaesthetist  £135 £90
Architect  £99 £90
Back calculations [Fixed fee]
£180
£189
Benefit expert  £90 £90
Cardiologist  £144 £90
Cell telephone site analysis  £90 £90
Child psychiatrist  £135 £90
Child psychologist  £126 £90
Computer expert  £90 £90
Consultant engineer  £90 £68
Dentist  £117 £90
Dermatologist  £108 £90
Disability consultant  £68 £68
DNA (per person) – per test of sample 
£315
£315
DNA (per person) – preparation of report  £90 £90
Doctor (GP)  £99 £90
Drug expert  £90 £90
Employment consultant  £68 £68
Enquiry agent  £32 £23
ENT surgeon  £126 £90
Facial mapping  £135 £90
Fingerprint expert  £90 £47
Fire investigation  £90 £68
Firearm expert  £90 £90
Forensic scientist  £113 £90
General surgeon  £135 £90
Geneticist  £108 £90
GP (records report) [Fixed fee]
£63
£90
Gynaecologist  £135 £90
Haematologist  £122 £90
Handwriting expert  £90 £90
Interpreter  £32 £25
Lip reader / Signer  £72 £41
Mediator  £126 £126
Medical consultant  £135 £90
Medical microbiologist  £135 £90
Medical report  £99 £90
Meteorologist [Fixed fee in London] £126
£180
Midwife  £90 £90
Neonatologist  £135 £90
Neurologist  £153 £90
Neuropsychiatrist  £158 £90
Neuroradiologist  £171 £90
Neurosurgeon  £171 £90
Nursing expert  £81 £81
Obstetrician  £135 £90
Occupational therapist  £68 £68
Oncologist  £140 £90
Orthopaedic surgeon  £144 £90
Paediatrician  £135 £90
Pathologist [Fixed fee in London] £153
£540
Pharmacologist  £122 £90
Photographer  £32 £23
Physiotherapist  £81 £81
Plastic surgeon  £135 £90
Process server  £32 £23
Psychiatrist  £135 £90
Psychologist  £117 £90
Radiologist  £135 £90
Rheumatologist  £135 £90
Risk assessment expert  £63 £63
Speech therapist  £99 £90
Surgeon  £135 £90
Surveyor  £50 £50
Telecoms expert  £90 £90
Toxicologist  £135 £90
Urologist  £135 £90
Vet  £90 £90
Voice recognition  £117
£90

 

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Issue 71
September 2011

Prior authority
Expert fees in publicy funded cases
Conferences


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