The life of a legal aid practitioner brings many delights, not least navigating the complexities of understanding and claiming costs.

This is particularly true in criminal work, which has a number of different costing regimes. Much of what is needed to work out costs is online but since this is not always correct or up to date, the fee-earner or support worker who does the billing needs a reliable guide.

Anthony Edwards, Colin Beaumont

£50, Legal Action Group

Referring to a book and not just relying on online material is essential as the text contains everything in one place, including chapter and verse on the periods of different rates of pay and lists of various remuneration regulations. The book addresses questions such as:

  • How long does it reasonably take to read a page of evidence?
  • Is dictating time claimable?
  • What does exceptional mean?
  • When is special preparation allowable

A guide like this is necessary both to assist with routine billing and to explain when and how one can challenge decisions. It is comprehensive, covering: police interviews and other investigations; magistrates’ court proceedings; prison law; Crown court work; costs in relation to appeals and reviews; and very high cost criminal cases. 

It is a reasonably concise, readable book, with a helpful index. And the price? Just over an hour’s remuneration for a busy legal aid criminal solicitor.

David Pickup is a partner at Pickup and Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury