firm has won an appeal over the Legal Aid Agency’s decision to base a fee on 4,680 pages of prosecution evidence rather than the 10,000 pages claimed.

Costs judge Rowley found in favour of Harewood Law in part, directing the determining officer to recalculate the appropriate graduated fee for 6,000 pages .

The firm had been instructed by defendants in a money laundering case. It argued that the original version of an expert report and the forensic examination of a mobile phone was in universal forensic extraction device (UFED) format while the determining officer was provided with a PDF version of the report. The firm said it was not an appropriate approach to consider the report in a different format.

The judge said: ‘I do not see that it is likely that using the UFED version would be more time consuming than using a PDF version, as otherwise, practitioners would not use it. On this basis, I do not see that the solicitors were prejudiced in the running of the case in being required to use the UFED format. The PDF version was created during that period from the original material.

‘As such, there is no suggestion that it would have been any differently formatted if it had been provided by the prosecution at the outset.’

‘Therefore, it is the version that would normally be preferred for the purposes of calculating the [pages of prosecution evidence] and I do not think that the determining officer’s decision to use it in this way was flawed in principle.’

The judgment found the determining officer’s exercise of discretion could not be faulted. It added that ‘around 30% of the images ought to be allowed as being sufficiently important to merit categorisation as PPE’.

The firm, which was partly successful, won the appropriate additional payment as well as £250 for costs and £100 paid on appeal.