You cannot use the services of a court duty solicitor, as an agent, when unable to provide representation [regulation 7(5) of The Criminal Legal Assistance (Duty Solicitors) (Scotland) Regulations 2011].
There is a clear separation between these two forms of representation. Once a court duty solicitor is acting, the case cannot be transferred to an appointed solicitor and vice versa.
The core fixed payment [under Schedule 1 of the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Regulations 1999], or the case disposal fee [under Schedule 1A] is reduced by half where:
The Legal Aid and Advice and Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 came into force on 1 October 2022, and removed the half fee that had been payable where:
From 1 October 2022, you can instruct the duty solicitor as a local agent to plead not guilty and still be paid the full core fee where you have a pre-existing solicitor client relationship with the assisted person.
This “full fee” provision is available where that principal solicitor is instructed (a) by a person with whom they have a pre-existing solicitor client relationship and (b) that person has actually instructed the solicitor in the case (as opposed to there only being a possibility that there is future instruction).
Where these conditions are met, then the principal solicitor so instructed in the case can use the solicitor who is the duty solicitor that day (or any other solicitor) as their local agent to cover the pleading diet without impacting on the fixed payment fee under the half fee rule.
The nominated solicitor is responsible for the negotiation and payment of any fee agreed with the local solicitor to whom the appearance is delegated to, e.g. a local agent’s fee, and this is not a charge that may be passed on as an outlay in the Summary Criminal account: the work is part of the overall work in the case covered by the fixed payment. The duty solicitor cannot make a claim under the duty provisions for the case either as it is not duty work.
In the summary criminal online application, at the question “Was not guilty plea entered by the duty solicitor?”
*Regulation 4(5C) applies where:
Where a reluctant or prevaricating witness is removed to the cells for a period, a court duty solicitor may be asked to advise them.
In these circumstances: