CASCAIDr provides FREE ‘core’ specialist legal advice, and a wider spectrum of low cost chargeable legal advice services. We are not a law firm, and not holding ourselves out as solicitors, or as regulated legal activities providers. We can and do take clients up to the issue of public law and related legal proceedings, but not beyond.
The question of whether there’ll be a cost, or whether the work you need from us will be done for free, depends on the nature of the problem, and not on your means. Our model is explained below.
We are committed to spending up to 2.5 hours for free on analysing any problem that we are not quickly able to put on one side of our charging line or the other, ie at first glance. Thereafter we would charge a fact-finding fee of £50-75 an hour, depending on complexity, but will of course tell you first and seek your written agreement.
This commitment does NOT extend to scrutinising say 30 pdf attachments that arrive in our inbox, upside down, or unlabelled, please note. We need people who can help themselves, a bit, by telling us what they think about the significance of the documents that they think we need to look at. If it’s not easy, or you can’t help us to that extent, we have volunteers who can take over for the balance of the 2.5 hours; and only if THAT still proves insufficient for us to be sure how the matter sits within our model, do we seek to charge a fact finding fee of £50-£75 an hour.
There is a referral form to fill out (to help us help you find out whether your problem qualifies for our ‘free scope’ work) under the tab on the top menu called ‘Free Advice’. Or if you really can’t deal with our form, you can book a free half hour call to our helpline via the ‘Books’ icon on the right ….
Please note that we also provide talks, webinars, half and full day training sessions to charities, user and carer support groups. There are more details towards the bottom of this page (B).
Similar advice and training services can be provided to Not for Profits and commercial providers of care and support services through CASCAIDr Trading Ltd, our trading arm.
A. Legal Advice Services
Our primary beneficiaries are people with clear and evidenced current public law legal problems concerning health and social care decision-making, eg over access to advocacy, assessment, eligibility or care planning / care plan revision decisions, within a reasonable time, either by councils and CCGs. If the illegality affecting the situation is procedural only, we will look to see if there is a strongly arguable substantive challenge too, before deciding to offer free scope services.
They get an outcome-focused, free advice service, taking their challenge up to a certain point: the production of what’s called a pre-action protocol letter which sets out why the public body is in the wrong, and what it needs to do to avoid legal challenge through judicial review proceedings.
They can continue to receive services for free for as long as we feel it’s appropriate, given our perception of the merits of the challenge, even if the public body gives a little bit of ground.
In order to pay for that free advice to be given by professionals who know what they are talking about, public donations, whilst extremely welcome, won’t be enough, in the long term.
So CASCAIDr trades as a charity as well (ie sells some advice services) in order to boost its capacity to take on more cases for its primary beneficiaries. We sell advice to individuals and to charitable organisations concerning health and social care issues.
1. Our ‘free scope’ services for our primary beneficiaries are for individuals with clear and evidenced public law legal problems standing in the way of their rights to health or social care services.
The charity’s free scope output is provided for free, and comprises (where necessary)
- a Care Act / public law principles checklist to take back to the public body in question,
- and/or a pre action protocol letter, based on a case worker’s analysis of the facts.
This offering assumes that the beneficiary has been able to provide or has been supported to provide, informally or through a CASCAIDr volunteer, adequate information to the charity, in a coherent accessible manner, without extensive further input being needed from a caseworker. If that assumption is not valid in a given case, the charity’s management will make an alternative offer.
There is a referral form to fill out (to help us help you find out whether your problem qualifies for our ‘free scope’ work) under the tab on the top menu called ‘Free Advice’. Or you can book a free half hour call to our helpline via the ‘Books’ icon on the right….
2. Our other low cost legal advice services are for a wider range of individuals’ health and social care legal issues and problems – and for charitable organisations in the health and social care sector.
Charities are allowed to trade, as long as their trading activities directly support their charitable purposes, which is why we can legitimately sell services to individuals and charities, albeit at a non-commercial rate.
CASCAIDr’s purposes include the relief of poverty and hardship, and the relief of the needy, and our advice services are one means of delivering on those purposes.
We have benchmarked our charitable advice service prices to be cheaper than anywhere else that we can find out about (anywhere that is, where a charge is made, that is not just a one person consultancy). And we are providing specialist expertise, and have been allowed to do this for money, by the Charity Commission.
Since we are seeking to extend legal expertise to a wider group of people, and have only fees to pay out to our Case Workers, and very few other overheads, we are charging £125 (no vat as yet) an hour to individuals whose problem or need is not within the scope of our free service offer, but in our secondary sphere of advice service. We still think it’s brilliant value.
Examples of the sort of individuals or problems that might be supported – but only under contract, in return for this significantly discounted fee – might be any of the following:
- Someone who doesn’t actually qualify for free independent advocacy under the Care Act, or doesn’t like the advocate they’ve been allocated, and wants to pay for someone else, who does know what they’re talking about;
- A relative or statutory representative of someone lacking mental capacity, who doesn’t understand the Care Act system very well, but wants to be a more assertive and effective informal supporter or Best Interests consultee during their loved one’s care planning process
- A person with a claim that something went wrong already, but more than 6 months ago, who wants help in writing a complaint to the council, the ombudsman or the Health Service Ombudsman
- A person with a recent dispute about their status for NHS Continuing Health Care who’s been paying the care home or other care provider, privately, when in fact it should have been the CCG.
Our charges, for individuals and charitable organisations, summarised:
Telephone or written Advice and Drafting for anyone, with regard to matters outside the Charity’s Free Scope category:
– £125 an hour to individuals (the service includes a free booked half hour call if it was necessary to give us full enough information for triage)
– £150 an hour if the client is a not for profit or charitable organisation, via CASCAIDr Trading Ltd – see below for more details.
This latter rate is also the hourly rate for organisations which subscribe to CASCAIDr Trading Ltd’s annual packages of advice and training – for any further hours of advice over the allotted 3 hours.
3. CASCAIDr Trading Ltd customers – non-charitable advice for certain types of problems for individuals, non charitable Providers and/or Councils
CASCAIDr Trading Ltd will take on individuals’ matters, subject to being able to source competent input, where the law is more complex and not part of the charity CASCAIDr’s ordinary core expertise – such as a Mental Health Act aftercare situation or where Housing Law or special education law is all mixed up with the issue.
Individuals seeking advice that is outside the objects of the charity (as to which the management’s decision shall be final) may be provided with advice by our Trading Company arm (CASCAIDr Trading Ltd) at the rate of £150 per hour.
If the advice being sought is sought by a for profit or other commercial organisation, it cannot be given by CASCAIDr as a charity but may be triaged elsewhere (ie potentially through the Trading Subsidiary if the potential client chooses to accept that company’s fees): £200 per hour – terms: payment within 14 days, with late payment interest terms applicable
If you are a Provider Organisation, working in the care and support field, or a council, or a CCG we will be happy to provide advice, subject to our not already having been asked for advice, by someone else who’s involved in the same dispute or issue.
Providers might have an issue over a fees dispute, or MCA or safeguarding obligations to their own client, etc.
- Organisations taking out a Package Deal with the Charity’s trading company are able to benefit from up to 3 hours advice a year as an inclusive part of their package.
- Organisations which are charities, in terms of their constitution, can pay £150 an hour for one off advice when needed from CASCAIDr or from CASCAIDr Trading without taking out a Package Deal.
- Commercial Organisations can still purchase advice when needed, but will be charged £200 per hour by the Trading Company for advice if they haven’t taken out a membership package. When more than their 3 hours’ annual entitlement is needed, they will pay £150 an hour for additional advice.
We don’t do employment law advice, please note, but we can at least tell a client if that’s the essence of the problem, if the client is not sure.
B. Other non-advice services
Here, you will find a list of various additional services we can be asked to provide on a bespoke basis through CASCAIDr’s or our Trading Company’s contractors:
- CASCAIDr offers FREE briefings on care and health legal cases and legislation: to access these, visit the Search Facility in the right-hand side bar, select the appropriate category from the Search drop-down list, put in a word that makes sense to you, and click Search, or just search that category as a whole.
- The Care and Health Law Q and A database is part of our Package Deal which you can learn about here.
- Training Services – short talks and training courses for specific types of client
- Dispute Resolution – we can be paid to act as an early neutral evaluator of the legal merits of a dispute, if you both come to us at once
- Advocates’ support – through our package deal services, or bespoke by way of advice services by the hour
C. Miscellaneous – all works in progress at this point
Advocacy face to face where we have contractors in your area
Representative Actions in the discretion of the Board, and supporting people seeking protective costs orders
A Litigation Friend service for a permission application for Judicial Review that’s being supported by the charity – 5 hours for free to those lacking in mental capacity, if the anticipated costs of the permission application have been successfully crowdfunded;
Representative service for Court of Protection matters as Approved Practitioners.