Accounts: Common queries in relation to the preparation and submission of legal aid accounts

Preparing and assessing accounts can be a difficult and time consuming task, especially where the account is chargeable on a “detailed” basis – that is an account with separate charges for most individual interactions and items of work on a case.

Sometimes an assessment results in us having to reduce a charge or disallow it in its entirety – a process known as abatement.

We know from feedback that such abatements are frustrating for the profession. We have prepared this note with the intention of addressing some of the most common queries we are asked.

We hope this will help you to frame accounts that are more likely to be paid in full, first time, thereby reducing delay and frustration.

Using Legal Aid Online to submit paper and online accounts

  • Paper accounts: completing the online synopsis form
  • Contacting us to amend court type and category codes
  • Automatic Legal Aid

Submission of a final account following payments of interim claims (New online system)

Time limit for submitting accounts

Legal aid: You have four months from the completion of the proceedings for submitting legal aid accounts.

Advice and assistance: you have one year from the conclusion of the advice to submit your final account.

Civil diagnostic: accounts must be submitted within three months of the date when the giving of the advice and assistance was completed.

If you do not send us a final account timeously we will seek repayment of any interim claims which have been paid in circumstances where you did not have to submit any account in support of that payment.

Late accounts

We have discretion to accept late accounts (except in relation to civil advice and assistance diagnostic cases) where there is a special reason.

You should submit requests to

Helpful information to submit with your account

Our role in accounts assessment is to decide how much to pay for work undertaken or commissioned by a solicitor (or advocate) on a particular case, within a framework set by the Act and regulations.

  • Outlays
  • Work item narratives

Common accounts assessment issues

If the information outlined is provided in the narrative and, where appropriate, submitted/uploaded to the account/work item we will often not need to make any further enquiry.

  • Perusal charges
  • Preparation
  • Letters
  • Courtesy letters
  • Framing
  • Precognitions/affidavits
  • Written representations replacing an oral hearing
  • Hearings
  • Solicitor’s time engaged per day at court
  • Travel and mileage
  • Other documents to submit/upload with your account

Common charging issues affecting Civil Legal Aid block fee accounts

Common charging issues affecting Criminal Accounts

Please see the table of fees for Schedule 1, Solemn and Summary Detailed & Inclusive Fees and the Notes on Operation

  • Meetings with clients at court in Solemn Cases claimed under Part 2, paragraphs 1 and 5 (Inclusive Fees)
  • Identification Parades ‘solemn proceedings’
  • For prison visits claimed under Part 2, Paragraph 3 (Inclusive Fees)
  • Where a fee is claimed under Part 2, Paragraph 6 (Inclusive Fees)

Common charging issues affecting Civil Advice and Assistance Accounts

Please see the table of fees for Advice & Assistance, Schedule 3, Part II

  • Eligibility
  • Framing Mandates
  • Precognitions
  • Seeking the client’s further instructions

Contacting us

SLAB contacts:

Contact a specific team or department

Accounts Assessment – Contact a Team

Accounts systems issues/problems Lynne Dunlop: assistance with submitting online accounts and systems issues/problems 0131 240 2193
Accounts training Accounts online system training or training on the preparation and submission of accounts (for solicitors and support staff) 0131 560 2135
Assistant manager Eileen Grant 0131 560 2135
Civil Accounts A&A 0131 560 2159
A&A Immigration 0131 560 2159
Civil 0131 560 2158
Criminal Accounts Solemn & Summary detailed 0131 560 2153
Summary Fixed fee or Duty Accounts 0131 560 2154
A&A and ABWOR 0131 560 2154
Children’s Accounts Children’s/AWI 0131 560 2157
Mental health 0131 560 2157
Steven Carrie, Accounts Specialists Counsel fees/accounts general 0131 560 2162