In this context, capital means savings and anything else of value owned by the client:
The following are not included as capital:
Where your client declares capital, we will require recent proof. For instance, if the capital is in an account such as an ISA, a recent copy statement is required for that account.
If capital or savings sums are used to cover weekly living expenses, we can consider these savings as weekly income instead. To do this we need to know the length of time this capital sum is to cover. We convert the sum to a weekly income amount, based on the timescale the capital is supposed to cover. This then removes the capital from our capital assessment but includes the sum as weekly income. We require verification of the sum declared and confirmation of the period to be able to do this.
Any redundancy payments are usually included as capital. However, if an element of the redundancy payment covers any notice period, this should be declared as income.
Where your client lives with a spouse/partner and or any dependant person or child, a standard allowance against capital is deductible for each dependant at the rates given in the current advice and assistance Keycard.
If your client is of pensionable age, we may disregard some aspects of their capital depending on their disposable income. The current advice and assistance Keycard provides details of the dis-regards.
The capital figure remaining, after deducting any allowances and/or dis-regards, is your client’s disposable capital.
Any client with disposable capital below the capital limit qualifies for criminal solemn legal aid on capital.
However, if the figure exceeds the current limit of £1,716, we will compare the excess amount over, to the median costs of the case. If the excess amount over the £1,716 limit is less than the median case costs the client qualifies on disposable capital. If this figure is above the median case costs, the client will not qualify on capital.
The median case costs we use depends on whether:
For instance, if the case can only proceed in the High court such as a charge of Murder, Culpable Homicide or Rape, we will use the High court non-trial median case cost unless or until we are advised the case is going to trial. We also look at the nature of the case involved before we can determine whether it would cause undue hardship to pay for their own legal costs.
In considering the undue hardship test, we look at factors such as:
Median case costs table – Non Trial
High Court Non Trial
Sheriff and Jury Non Trial
|Murder/attempted murder/culpable homicide||£5,111||£1,515|
|Offensive weapons/breach of the peace||£3,652||£896|
|Road traffic offences||£8,451||£709|
Median case costs table – Trial
If we are advised that a case will be going to trial, then the following higher median costs can be used for the calculation.
High Court Trial
Sheriff and Jury Trial
|Murder/attempted murder/culpable homicide||£14,579||£3,801|
|Offensive weapons/breach of the peace||£14,128||£2,349|
|Road traffic offences||£11,814||£3,720|