The LAA has issued new guidance to its Contract Managers which may make it easier for practitioners to get more civil New Matter Starts (NMS) if they run out.
This is less of an issue than it used to be under the Access to Justice Act scheme when more Controlled Work was done; but we still hear reports from some practitioners that they have run out of NMS and when they asked their Contract Manager for more, were told that another practice in their Procurement Area (PA) still had some, so they should send the client there. This is clearly unsatisfactory from both the client’s and the practice’s point of view.
However, from 22 January 2015, whether another practice in the PA has NMS is no longer to be taken into account.
You will need to convince your Contract Manager:
- you are unable to meet an urgent demand for your services
- an urgent need arises because another practice has reduced or stopped providing the service
- there is a general increase in demand for services of that type in your PA
The Contract Manager can authorise up to another 50% on top of your original schedule allocation (so if your initial allocation was 100, you can be awarded up to 50 more that year).
If you applied for a lot size in the tender that allowed you to self grant up to an additonal 50%, you cannot apply to your Contract Manager for more.
In exceptional circumstances, the Contract Manager may be able to grant additional NMS to address emergency situations.