You have the right to give up a legal aid case [section 31(2) Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986]. Having decided that you should cease to act you do not have to get our prior permission. However, you must tell your client and us that you have withdrawn and why using the online ‘Cease to Act’ function [regulation 25(1) Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002].

If you are told your client no longer wants you to act, you must tell us using the online ‘Cease to Act’ function [regulation 25(2)].

Transfer of legal aid certificate to a new solicitor: factors we consider

If your client asks you to stop acting for them, they cannot insist on transferring their grant of legal aid to another solicitor.  They must get our approval to nominate another solicitor. The newly instructed solicitor will usually apply for our approval using the ‘Transfer Registration’ application.

We must consider [regulation 25(3) Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002]:

  • If the assisted person has a good reason for seeking a change of solicitor.
  • It is reasonable for them to continue to receive legal aid.

We may invite comments from you on:

  • Whether legal aid should continue.
  • Whether public funds are likely to be unjustifiably spent by instructing a different solicitor at the stage reached in the case.

Despite this, the decision on the application is entirely ours.

Any transfer will only be effective from the date we authorise it and cannot be made retrospectively.  Any work done by the incoming solicitor before that date will not be allowable under the grant of legal aid.  If you are the incoming solicitor and need to do work as a matter of urgency, you should contact us by telephone to arrange an urgent transfer.

Transfer of an application – no legal aid decision made

Where a transfer of agency is sought prior to the determination of the application, you should make a transfer application using the ‘Transfer Application’ function and following the steps below:

  • Access the civil online applications screens.
  • Select the civil option and then select transfer.
  • Input the civil legal aid reference number, (if this is not known, please contact us and we will be able to provide you with this).
  • Complete the transfer registration screen and confirm you have obtained a copy of the transfer declaration.

We will notify you of the decision taken and, where granted, this gives access to the online record including notifications.

If you are the incoming solicitor you must check the status of the application prior to undertaking any work on behalf of your client as the application may still be outstanding.  Where the work to be done is urgent a special urgency application may need to be made.

Solicitor moving firm

You must notify us, in writing, of all cases that you are taking with you to any new firm.  You should also provide details of the new firm code.  As these are not transfers, no client declaration is required.

Transfer of Legal Aid Certification: you are moving firm but your client wishes to stay with existing firm

Transfer applications need to be submitted by the solicitor within the firm who is now to act on behalf your client.  A signed declaration from your client is needed.

If a transfer is needed because the nominated solicitor:

  • Commences maternity leave.
  • Has ill health or passes away.

The normal transfer procedure applies, a client’s transfer declaration should be completed and the online line transfer application submitted.

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