Witness Fees and Outlays
Paragraph 22 to 24 of the terms and conditions of the Private Practitioner Scheme for the Circuit Court provides as follows:
22. If a solicitor/firm considers that further steps that will incur expenditure are required to process the client’s claim, over and above those authorised on the certificate, for example, that a professional report should be obtained or that professional or other witnesses are required, application must be made in writing to the Board seeking an amendment to the certificate to incur such expenditure. Such application should provide sufficient information, particularly in relation to how the additional expenditure is likely to benefit the client’s case, to allow a decision to be made and to enable the terms of the Act to be complied with by the Board when considering the application.
23. If it is decided to approve an application, an amending certificate will be issued by the Board. A solicitor may not seek reports, engage witnesses or otherwise incur costs or expenses save as authorised on foot of a Certificate or an amending certificate. The Board will be responsible only for costs or expenses incurred where these have been approved in writing in advance.
24. Decisions by the Board to refuse applications for professional or expert witnesses shall be subject to the relevant review and appeal procedures contained and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996 (Regulation 12).
Applications for amendments to legal aid certificates should be made to the Private Practitioner Centre. The Board’s scale of witness / expert fees is set out hereunder. There are a number of items of outlay that will in the normal course be the responsibility of the applicant.
Fees and Expenses for Professional and Expert Witnesses
Medical practitioner fees:
- Standard GP up to €215
- Consultant up to €385
Family Assessment Report Fees Psychologist / Psychiatrist:
- Examination and first report up to €385
- Examination and report - second family member €385
- Each additional family member – interview €300
- Each group session- interview €300
Follow up report:
- G.P. / Consultant up to €185
- Psychiatrist / Psychologist up to €300
Attendance at Court:
(To include consultation with Counsel on day of hearing if necessary)
- Half day (a.m. or p.m.) up to €515/€555
- Full day up to €765 / €805
Note: (The €515 applies where the Consultant is within 30 kilometres of the Court venue: €555 applies where Consultant is in excess of 30 kilometres of Court).
Consultation with Counsel other than on day of hearing:
up to €210 per hour
Consultation with another party’s medical advisor:
- By telephone up to €60
- By Correspondence up to €85
- By Attendance at Examination up to €150/€175 (Depending on whether travel is greater or less than 10 miles).
- For standby fees within 20 miles of consultants / psychiatrists/ psychologists hospital up to €385
- For standby for Court more than 20 miles from consultants/ psychiatrists / psychologists hospital up to €425
Professional Witnesses other than Medical Practitioners:
The sums listed below represent maximum fees payable and where possible lower amounts should be negotiated. For complex/long cases an all-in fee should, where possible, be agreed in advance.
- Partners/Associates up to €205 per hour
- Assistants up to - €105 per hour
- Consulting Actuaries up to €1015
- Overall rate, i.e all- in (excl VAT) maximum fee for report up to €720
- Rate to be allowed for expert witnesses- up to €4 per photograph
Vocational rehabilitation Consultant / Occupational Therapist and Vocational Evaluator
- Overall rate, i.e. all-in (excl VAT) maximum fee for report up to €490
Pensions Consultants - €300
All civilian witnesses attending court should be informed in advance of their attendance or before they are invited to submit a claim that all claims in respect of expenses such as taxies, loss of earnings, parking, meals and travel must be supported by a voucher. Claims not supported by vouchers will not be paid. Civilian witnesses are not entitled to claim mileage at civil service rates even if they are employed or have been employed in public service. If the civilian witness has to use his / her own private car, travel expenses will be met at the rate of 68.47 cent per mile (42.55 cent per kilometre).
Claims in respect of loss of earnings must be certified by the claimant’s employer and state the gross and net loss of earnings being claimed. An individual who is self-employed must obtain a note from his accountant to the effect that his / her loss of earnings is justified. Witnesses attending as expert witnesses and claiming appropriate loss of earnings or fees must submit their R.S.I Number, as same will be subject to withholding tax.
There is an expectation that employees of State Bodies such as Local Authorities and Health Boards would not suffer loss of income or be obliged to take annual leave when attending Courts as witnesses in legally aided cases. Where such individuals claim loss of earnings or compensation for having to take annual leave, they should be advised of the foregoing expectation and told to approach their employer.
It is imperative that all witnesses must be informed to keep their expenses at a reasonable level particularly if they have to travel from abroad.
Outlay / Fees - responsibility of legally-aided person
There are a few categories of cases in which the legally aided person is considered to
be responsible for fees and outlay, namely:
The cost of these fees, where the client is required to swear an affidavit, is to be a
matter for the client to pay, separately from the contribution.
The current position is that the individuals concerned have an interest in property and,
given that they are seeking to verify the value of that property, they should be in a position to pay for it.
Law centres have been requested to arrange joint valuations where they are representing both parties and even to seek that outcome where one party is privately represented.
If a client indicates that he or she is unable to meet the cost of a valuation (or his or her share of the cost of the valuation), the Board may consider an application to fund the valuation on the basis that not to do so would cause hardship to the client and would not be in the best interest of the client's case or where other exceptional circumstances exist.
In circumstances where the applicant is not aware of the place of residence of the
respondent in the proceedings. A legally aided person is responsible for ascertaining
the address of the proposed respondent or is required to meet the cost of advertisements in the media.
Hardship and decisions generally
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board exercises its discretion in each and every
case by reference to the facts of the particular case and, in particular, whether the decision not to authorise expenditure would be likely to create hardship.