Rambling Distance?

On the 17th February we posted this about the assessment of travel claims.

It was a pretty standard JRS “weather vane” moment; we immediately suspected a wider agenda and the issue widening.

I had an exchange with the infallible Andrew Keogh of Crimeline regarding CBAM 3.9.11, which states;

“Local travel expenses should not be claimed is the solicitors office is within walking distance of the court”

Andrew came back with Practice Directive 47 and highlighted 5.22 (3)

On 27th February this “news” appeared on the LAA website.

The story provided a link to, yes you’ve guessed it, Practice Directive 47 and highlighted 5.22 (3) which states;

Local travelling expenses incurred by legal representatives will not be allowed. The definition of ‘local’ is a matter for the discretion of the court. As a matter of guidance, ‘local’ will, in general, be taken to mean within a radius of 10 miles from the court dealing with the case at the relevant time. Where travelling and waiting time is claimed, this should be allowed at the rate agreed with the client unless this is more than the hourly rate on the assessment.

Since then, of course, we have had a number of contacts from firms having local travel refused – on both civil and criminal bills.

So what to say then?

If “local” and “walking distance” are the same thing, then 10 miles is not set in stone but is a matter for the discretion of the court when undertaking detailed assessment. It is also of course open to appeal and clarification – perhaps by way of a Point of Principle or a Cost Judge determination. The LAA could also consult with the representative bodies on an amendment to CBAM and CAG.

A full justification for such travel will now have to be provided and any supporting decision of local courts applying discretion appended.

I also think this is a different issue to the public -v- private travel issue though if walking is not possible, with large volume/confidential files that might impact upon the courts exercise of discretion.

About Author: SP

3 comments on “Rambling Distance?

  • It is worth noting that this is yet another in a long line of self-serving pronouncements by the LAA, without one hint of authority to back it up. A reference to the civil procedure rules is in itself laughable as the name is actually on the tin ‘Standard CRIMINAL contract’. The civil procedure rules have no more impact on the construction of the crime contract than do the words of my Great Aunt Fanny.

    The civil rules to this effect have been in place for as long as I can ever recall, but there is no gloss on the very clear wording of the contract that allows for travel disbursements.

    Carry on claiming and let’s sort this before a court.

  • Could not agree more – also why did they not try and slip through a change to CBAM at the last edit – that is the usual approach.

  • That’s the problem with erratic brain function, you just never know when a neuron is going to shoot across that synaptic gap.

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