A&A accounts and counsel’s fees: demonstrating work was reasonable, and procedure for payment

Counsel’s fees are incurred by you as an outlay under advice and assistance, unlike the position in civil or criminal legal aid.

Our accounts assessment area will examine the fees to be paid to counsel in the usual way.  If we grant an increase in authorised expenditure, this does not mean we accept that the estimate of the time work will take or the fees quoted by counsel in the sanction request are reasonable.  Our approval of a sanction request quoting estimates of time and cost does not mean that we will pay these sums: it is simply a maximum level which cannot be exceeded.  The fee charged must be within that limit, and has to be justified at the conclusion of the advice.

You are responsible for settling all outlays incurred under advice and assistance, including counsel’s fees.  You should claim these in the body of your account as an outlay (inclusive of VAT) and we will pay them direct to you.  (When you apply for an increase, the costs of outlays should include VAT.)

If the limit of authorised expenditure is insufficient to cover the total fees and outlays, we will currently pay the outlays (inclusive of VAT) in priority to your fee.

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