Advice and assistance: non-templated increases

This page includes information on how to apply for non-templated increases in expenditure under civil A&A. It covers the information you should provide us with; case-related factors to address in your application; the process for reconsideration of refused increases; the process for urgently needed increases; whether authority for retrospective increases is available; and other guidance you may wish to consider.

Information you must provide us with: work already done and to be done

If there is no template for the matter you want an increase for, you must give us:

  • Summary of the work already done
  • Details of the further work that will be done if we grant the increase
  • Breakdown of any significant costs involved, for example, outlays for reports
  • Details of the existing limit, that is, either the £135 or £180 initial limit (or any increased limit already authorised)
  • Enough information to enable us to decide whether it is reasonable to grant the increase.

We will refuse the request or grant a smaller increase if we are not persuaded that the increase sought is reasonable. We may impose conditions on the advice and assistance and limit the subject matter dealt with.

We have created a tool that provides guidance on the information we need to consider increases for certain types of case if you are not using a template.

Case-related factors you should address in applications for increases

If you are not using a template, your application for an increase (in order to advise your client on how to take steps in instituting, conducting or defending proceedings or to help them take those steps) should address factors such as:

  • Value of the claim
  • The importance of the case to the client
  • The complexity or novelty of the issues involved
  • The ability of your client to undertake this work without help
  • Whether they could get help on procedural matters from some other source and if they have done so or not.

In dealing with a request for an increase, we will look at each case on its own merits. We do not give a particular category of case a set limit however, do not always expect to get an increase to the level you ask for.

Reconsideration of requests for increases

If we refuse a request for an increase, you can submit a reconsideration. If you requested an urgent decision on the increase, then your reconsideration will be treated as urgent. If not and you need an urgent decision, please call the team to advise them of the urgency.

If it becomes clear that we will not grant any further increases and you have reached the limit of the authorised expenditure, you should tell your client that advice and assistance has ended. Your client will have to pay for any further work privately.

Supporting documentation to supply with requests for increases

In some situations, you must send us supporting documentation before we can consider a request, and these include:

  • Request for supplementary medical report – original medical report
  • Any document referred to in the request as being enclosed. You can ask for more than one increase in a case and there is no upper limit on the expenditure that we can authorise.

You must give us all available details in support of an application for an increase.

Procedure for urgently needed increases

If the matter is extremely urgent, you can ask for an increase by telephoning our Advice and Assistance Increases Unit. Outwith normal office hours, you can call 0771 1424 344. Where we grant an increase by telephone, you should follow this up by submitting an online increase application, indicating that this was granted by telephone as soon as possible.

Increases are not retrospective in their effect. If you do work that exceeds the limit in force before an increase is granted, we will abate charges for that work from any account you later send us.

Increases: no retrospective authority available

We cannot, in terms of the Act and regulations, retrospectively grant an increase in authorised expenditure under advice and assistance. In the case of Drummond & Co. -v- Scottish Legal Aid Board 1992 SC (HL)1, the House of Lords accepted that our prior approval was required.

In this section