Applications for children’s legal aid by a curator ad litem

If the sheriff has appointed a curator ad litem to act for a child or an incapable adult applicant there is nothing to prevent a curator ad litem from acting as both the curator to the child or adult and a solicitor to the child or adult.

If the curator decides to act in this dual capacity then the curator can apply to us for legal aid on behalf of their client.

Therefore, the curator should:

  • Complete the solicitor details section and the representative details section in the application form.
  • On such an application this person will be both the nominated solicitor and the applicant’s representative by virtue of their appointment as a curator ad litem.

However, it is important to note that we can only pay for charges applicable to actual legal representation. We cannot pay any charges that relate to work carried out in the capacity of curator.

For example, the following charges will not be paid from the Fund, as they fall under the remit of the curator:

  • Charges relating to drafting a written report as a curator for the sheriff
  • Charges associated with observing contact visits
  • Charges associated with spending time with other children, relevant persons or carers/individuals and keeping them updated of matters

Curator to child instructing separate solicitor to act as solicitor to child

It is also open for a curator to instruct a separate solicitor to act for the child or incapable adult.  This separate solicitor will be the nominated solicitor for the purposes of legal aid and the application for legal aid.

In the application form:

  • The curator’s details will be inserted into the representative’s details section
  • The application itself will require to be made by the separate solicitor instructed by the curator to represent the child or incapable adult

If we grant legal aid to the child or incapable adult in these circumstances, we will pay the nominated solicitor for all reasonable and necessary work carried out.

We cannot pay the curator for any work carried out.  Unlike the position for Safeguarders, there is no statutory payment mechanism for a curator ad litem.

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