Assessment of advice and assistance accounts: providing proportionate advice and potential abatements

Before giving advice to your client you must be satisfied that:

  • The client is financially eligible, with or without a contribution.
  • That the subject matter is Scots law.
  • It is reasonable to give or to continue to give advice on the matter, considering the likely costs.

The level of advice should be proportionate to the circumstances of the matter or dispute and the potential loss to your client.  You should not incur legal costs far more than a debt, the value of property at issue or other sum your client is seeking to recover.

We may abate the entire account, even within the initial limit of authorised expenditure, if we consider giving the advice was unnecessary and unreasonable.

Circumstances in which this could arise would include:

  • Advice costing more than £35 about a matter that could appropriately have been dealt with by a diagnostic interview.
  • Multiple advice given to a range of individuals in connection with a legal challenge, whether on a convention issue or not, by judicial review or otherwise, if a separate interest cannot be shown.
  • Multiple advice to a range of clients in connection with a legal challenge that has no practical benefit to the client or where there is no current remedy, the law having been established.

You decide who is eligible for advice and assistance and the extent to which you provide it.  Therefore, you must be aware of the circumstances in which advice and assistance is available and can be provided to avoid your account being abated.

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