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The Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2009

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Amendments to the Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2005

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9.  After rule 17, insert—

Very High Cost Cases – Review by the taxing master

17A.(1) Where, under rule 17, the taxing master has determined the costs in a lesser amount than that claimed by the representative, the representative may apply to the master to review his decision.

(2) Subject to rule 19, the application shall be made, within 21 days of receiving notification of the costs payable under rule 12(1), by giving notice in writing to the taxing master specifying the matters in respect of which the application is made and the grounds of objection and shall be made in such form and manner as the master may direct.

(3) The notice of application shall state whether the applicant wishes to appear or to be represented and, if the applicant so wishes, the taxing master shall notify the applicant of the time at which he is prepared to hear the applicant or his representative.

(4) The taxing master may, and if so directed by the Lord Chancellor either generally or in a particular case shall, send to the Lord Chancellor a copy of the notice of application together with copies of such other documents as the Lord Chancellor may require.

(5) With a view to ensuring that the public interest is taken into account, the Lord Chancellor may arrange for written or oral representations to be made on his behalf and, if he intends to do so, he shall inform the taxing master and the applicant.

(6) Any written representations made on behalf of the Lord Chancellor under paragraph (5) shall be sent to the taxing master and the applicant and, in the case of oral representations, the taxing master and the applicant shall be informed of the grounds on which such representations will be made.

(7) The applicant shall be permitted a reasonable opportunity to make representations in reply.

(8) The taxing master may consult the trial judge or the Commission and may require the applicant to provide any further information which he requires for the purpose of the review and, unless the taxing master otherwise directs, no further evidence shall be received on the hearing of the review and no ground of objection shall be valid which was not raised in the notice of application given under paragraph (2).

(9) The taxing master shall review his decision under rule 17 and may confirm it or vary it and certify the costs in any greater or lesser amount as he thinks fit.

(10) The taxing master shall communicate his decision and the reasons for it in writing to the applicant, the Lord Chancellor and the Commission.

Very High Cost Cases – Appeals to the High Court

17B.(1) A representative who is dissatisfied with the decision of the taxing master on a review under rule 17A may, with the leave of the court, appeal to the High Court against that decision and the Lord Chancellor shall be a respondent to such an appeal.

(2) Subject to rule 19, an application for leave under paragraph (1) shall be made within 21 days of receiving notification of the taxing master’s decision under rule 17A(10).

(3) Subject to rule 19, an appeal under this rule shall be instituted within 21 days of leave being granted under paragraph (1).

(4) Where the Lord Chancellor is dissatisfied with the decision of the taxing master on a review under rule 17A, he may, if no appeal has been made by the representative under paragraph (3), appeal to the High Court against that decision, and the representative shall be a respondent to the appeal.

(5) Subject to rule 19, an appeal under paragraph (4) shall be instituted within 21 days of receiving notification of the taxing master’s decision under rule 17A(10).

(6) The decision of the High Court on an appeal under paragraphs (3) or (5) shall be final.

(7) The judge shall have the same powers as the taxing master under rules 17 and 17A, and may reverse, affirm or amend the decision appealed against or make such other order as he thinks fit..

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