Many VHCC (Very High Cost Cases) start their life with a solicitor who does not have a VHCC contract or accreditation. The legal aid regulations require the original solicitor to pass the case to a solicitor that has a VHCC accreditation as soon as the case is confirmed as being subject to the VHCC provisions.
The current VHCC notification regulations require that all cases where the trial is likely to last 25 days or more must be notified to the Legal Services Commission. If a non-VHCC firm fails to notify the LSC of such a case they would be in breach of contract and risk not being paid for any work undertaken. The application process for VHCC accreditation requires solicitors to provide proof of substantial experience of complex cases requiring evidence of over 1000 hours of such work over the preceding 3 years. This can be a tall order especially for those with a mixed practice.
We realise that the transfer of a case in this way can cause anxiety to a client who will have established a relationship of trust and confidence with their original solicitor. In order to minimise such stress and to better prepare the case we will strive to involve the original solicitor and their firm whenever possible in the progress of the case. This can include involving the original firm with carrying out enquiries of potential witnesses, attending at court to support our advocates and using their office facilities for conferences. We believe that this approach provides a better service and improves trial preparation.
We are also permitted within the terms of a VHCC contract to "sub-contract" certain areas of work. This is especially useful where the client is vulnerable or has an established reationship with the original solicitor. In such circumstances the task of taking instructions can remain with the original solicitor. The full VHCC rates are payable to the original solicitor as part of the sub-contracting arrangement.
We can also instruct suitably qualified in-house advocates from the original firm of solicitors as part of our advocacy team. This also allows for continuity of representation and maintains the professional relationships that might have been established.
Any solicitor who would like to discuss a case referral should contact our VHCC Case manager;
tel: 08444 936 057 (24 hour)
or direct on 07980 800512
Or leave your message using the e-mail enquiry form at the end of this page. You will receive a reply within 24 hrs.