Block fees payable and charges subsumed under ABWOR in sequestration proceedings

The fees allowable to a solicitor for providing ABWOR for a petition by a debtor for the sequestration of their estate under section 5(2)(a) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 are set out in the regulations.  A fee of £27.40 is prescribed for any time you spend appearing in court in connection with the petition and a fee of £45 is for all other work.  You may also charge for outlays.

Whilst detailed fees are payable for general advice on debt, any work in connection with and, importantly, leading up to the petition is subsumed within the block fee.  From the moment the decision is taken to proceed to sequestration, no charge other than the block fees prescribed by the regulations can be made.  You may wish to continue under the existing advice and assistance certificate for general debt or, alternatively, admit the client to advice and assistance for the sequestration proceedings.  The fees prescribed will be covered by the initial limit of authorised expenditure without the need for an increase.

Court dues for petition for sequestration are waived for people receiving certain benefits as shown in the Sheriff Court Fees Amendment Order 2002.  These are currently income support, working families tax credit, disabled person’s tax credit and income-based jobseeker’s allowance.  The Order does not currently recognise working tax credit, children’s tax credit or income-related employment and support allowance.

Where self-sequestration is undertaken through the LILA process, the debtor’s application fee is not chargeable to the Fund.  The relevant legislation has not provided for this fee to be waived in circumstances where the individual is eligible for advice and assistance.

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