How do you work with the Legal Aid Agency (LLA)?

The LAA have provided Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses. The new rates apply to work undertaken with a case start date or representation order date on or after 2022. Our charges and service reflect this guidance and are within the guidelines set by the Remuneration Regulations, hence for most of the cases you have with us, prior authority for higher charges from the LAA should not be required.  

You (as Lead Body and contracting party) must discuss with us beforehand if you or any other party to the case are likely to be applying for a Legal Aid Agency certificate. This is because the LAA will apportion costs across a number of certificates (with a letter of authority for each) and we may be able to assist the Lead Body by directly issuing correctly apportioned invoices to the parties.  

Responsibility for the entire payment with respect to the case still however resides with the Lead Body as part of the Contract between Complement Genomics Ltd (dadcheck®gold) and the Lead Body (the test ordering party).  

The Remuneration Regulations makes special mention of DNA testing rates. This is on a per test basis, with a separate fee for report drafting. The LAA specifically will not pay above the rates set in the Remuneration Regulations unless there is a prior authority in place. However, for the most part this should not be necessary.  

Exceptions may arise, for example, if we need to hire the services of an interpreter to explain consent and its implications of if we have a situation where a close male relative could be the father. In the latter case the situation can become complex, and we may have to test more markers and carry out additional experimentation. We may in other cases and after experimentation, observe genetic changes which must be explained. In such cases, we will provide information and justification for the Lead Body to seek prior authority from the LAA for higher or further fees.  

The Regulations define a DNA test as “[alleged] father and child (plus mother if required)”. This rate is given at £252.00 plus VAT. Under the Regulations, the amount increases by £133.00 for each additional child tested. On occasion, there is more than one alleged father to be tested. Under the Regulations, each separate alleged father is to be considered part of a separate test. For preparation for a DNA report, the Regulations suggest a fee of £72.00 ex VAT. The hourly rate for a Geneticist (who is required to review the case), is £86.40 now ex VAT per hour.