One MHM client provides expert reports for actions that are publicly funded i.e. invoices are passed to the Legal Services Commission.
Consider there are FOUR parties to an action, all of whom are publicly funded. The first item to establish is how much is chargeable and at what rate together with what is NOT chargeable. Earlier this year (for example) the hourly rate was reduced so actions commenced before a change date becomes chargeable at one rate, those after at a lower rate. For the purposes of this example, assume the current rate is £125 per hour. So, the expert took:
4 hours to read the report 3 hours to dictate it 1 hour to proof read and amend if necessary.
Therefore it took a total of 8 hours – 8 hours @ £125 per hour = £1,000.
But there are FOUR parties to the action and therefore four completely separate invoices need to be raised for £250 each. It is not advisable to send one invoice to the lead party for two reasons: (1) you are expecting them to collect your money for you (2) you are relinquishing control of who precisely owes you your money and what’s happening with it.
That said, your invoice MUST show the number of hours for EACH separate item i.e. reading, writing etc. If an invoice just stating £250 is raised it WILL be rejected.
Consider the issue of a Court Appearance.
The number of hours at Court is also chargeable at £125 per hour. Time taken in traveling to Court is also chargeable but only at £40 per hour. Mileage is another area that causes confusion. MHM overcomes this easily. Take the postcode of the expert’s start point and the postcode of the destination and look them up on www.theaa.com or another route finder website. It doesn’t really matter which.
What is important is that the distance is based on a fixed source. This is infinitely better than just saying 90 miles for example. If the allowance per mile is, say, 40 pence, then 40 times 90 = £36.00.
Hopefully, the above gives and an indication of how to tackle how to invoice for a publicly funded report.
However… Do not consider instead of stating 4 hours to read a report, put a claim in for 7 hours in order to increase your fee because the Legal Services Commission guys are seriously switched on. They know only too well, how long a “standard” report takes to prepare. There may well be nonetheless a perfectly genuine reason why the report took longer and therefore you should say so.
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