Changes of nominated solicitor under advice and assistance

There is no provision under the advice and assistance regulations for transferring a grant of advice and assistance. We do, however, have an administrative arrangement for doing so in certain prescribed circumstances.

There is such provision, as there is for the transfer of a case under criminal legal aid, for ABWOR cases chargeable by way of a fixed payment (“relevant ABWOR”).


Criteria for allowing a change of solicitor in advice and assistance cases (not fixed fee ABWOR)

We will record a change in the nominated solicitor in certain circumstances.  This avoids the need for a second application for advice and assistance and the possibility that your client may have to pay a second contribution.  We will do this only where the case is to remain with the same firm of solicitors but the nominated solicitor has:

  • Died, retired or otherwise left private practice
  • Moved to another firm with agreement that outstanding cases are to remain with the original firm

The criteria are that:

  • You are unable to complete the course of advice and assistance
  • Another solicitor in the same firm is to complete the advice and assistance
  • All parties agree to the arrangement
  • One account will be sent in at the conclusion of the advice and assistance under the new solicitor’s practitioner code and paid under the mandate relating to the new solicitor

If you are unsure about making a transfer of advice and assistance, you should contact us to discuss this.

Procedure for seeking a change of solicitor

Changing the name of the nominated agent for two or more cases can be done using our on-line block transfer facility.

To do this, you should:

  • Use the “block move/transfer cases” option within the Criminal tab on Legal Aid Online.
  • Select theChange the name of the nominated solicitor’ option
  • The system will provide a list of cases available for selection in the name of the particular solicitor – the list will not include cases where a final account has been submitted or where the application has had a status of rejected for three months or more
  • You can either select the cases on an individual basis or you can use the ‘select all’ option from the list of cases
  • Complete the LAOL form and submit to us

In all other situations where a client seeks advice from a second solicitor on the same subject matter, they must get our permission to instruct them and make a fresh application for advice and assistance.

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