To avoid difficulties at the accounts assessment stage, you should note the instructions you have given an unqualified person when delegating them a particular task. This should be recorded on file.
What chargeable tasks can unqualified persons appropriately carry out?
Unqualified staff may gather information for you, or pass on your advice. The tasks they undertake must not involve giving advice to the client that has not been formulated by a solicitor.
Where you have delegated a task to unqualified staff, such as drafting a document, we may ask you to clarify whether you have had any input to framing, revising or signing the document.
Examples of appropriate use of unqualified person
You take brief background information and advise your client as to the options available before passing your client over to an unqualified member of staff to obtain further information. No charge is allowable in connection with the time taken to satisfy yourself that the client is financially eligible and that the subject matter of any advice and assistance is a matter of Scots law, but time spent giving initial advice is chargeable. A subsequent meeting with an unqualified person taking information from the client is also chargeable, at unqualified rates, providing that no independent advice is given.
Letters drafted by unqualified staff. A letter drafted by an unqualified person is chargeable provided the letter has been checked and signed by you.
Examples of inappropriate use of unqualified person
Initial advice given to your client without your involvement. This is not chargeable.
Advice given to your client at any time without your involvement.
Unqualified member of staff giving advice outwith your presence– for example, in a prison or hospital.
Advice given to your client, outwith your presence, in response to fresh information imparted by your client is not chargeable under any circumstances.