Circumstances where you do not need to apply for approval

Whether you need prior approval depends to some extent on the nature of the case or the court dealing with it.

So you may do something quite properly without prior approval in a High Court murder case, which would need prior approval in a minor breach of the peace case in the JP court. Regulation 14(1)(d) of the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 1996 is not, in general, concerned with the nature of the case itself, but with items of work.

You do not need prior approval just because you are acting, for example, in a murder case, a serious fraud case, or a major drugs case.

Serious cases will be expected to:

  • involve many witnesses and productions
  • extend over many trial days
  • result in substantial payments being made out of the Fund.

You do not need our prior approval in that sort of situation, and your claim for fees, outlays and counsel, if appropriate, will be assessed or taxed in the normal way.

Situations where no prior authority required

The following are examples where you do not need approval unless the work is likely to incur unusually large expenditure – that is, £2,000 or more:

  • we treat the use of an interpreter or translator as an ordinary outlay, which does not need our prior authority, subject to the £2,000 limit
  • unqualified staff taking witnesses’ statements, where there are likely to be additional expenses such as an overnight stay that would avoid further travelling at a later date
  • expenses of defence witnesses appearing at trial, where there were travelling expenses such as air fares
  • expenses involved in you travelling to see an assisted person who cannot travel to see you because they are in prison or hospital
  • procedures regarding specification of documents or statements on oath, where basic steps such as contacting the procurator for copy statements have already been followed.

If you have any doubt please contact our Criminal Applications Department to discuss your concerns.

In this section