ABWOR accounts and the employment of counsel: requirement of prior approval and charges for unauthorised advocacy

You may apply for an increase in authorised expenditure to cover the cost of counsel, whether for an opinion, a consultation or providing representation.  We will look at such requests on their individual merits, but it is for you to demonstrate that the case presents such difficulty, complexity, novelty or importance that it justifies the involvement of counsel.

If we do authorise the involvement of counsel, you may delegate attendance at court (or at a tribunal for which counsel has been sanctioned) with counsel to an unqualified member of staff, where appropriate in the circumstances of the case.

Section 31 of the Act only allows a solicitor to entrust a case to another solicitor, not to counsel.  If you are unable to conduct a hearing personally, you may only entrust the conduct of the case to another solicitor.  If the case is novel, difficult or complex enough as to justify the involvement of counsel, you should seek our approval and, if necessary, an increase in authorised expenditure for that.

We will question any account entry which indicates that a solicitor, or an unqualified member of staff, has attended a hearing for which no advocacy charge has been made, suggesting you have instructed counsel without our authority.  Where unsanctioned counsel has been employed we will not pay for any of the costs of counsel, including consultations, or for any of the costs incurred by a solicitor or unqualified person in attending at court or at the tribunal with counsel.

Limited number of consultations with counsel chargeable

Only two consultations with counsel are chargeable except on cause shown.

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