Civil legal aid accounts: application for additional fee in Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court cases and summary cause proceedings

An additional fee can be allowed at the discretion of the court in Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court (where detailed fees have been claimed) and summary cause proceedings.

The application to the Court must be by motion following Rule 7 of the Act of Sederunt (Civil Legal Aid Rules) 1987

In the Court of Session or Sheriff Appeal Court the court is concerned with the issue of whether an additional fee is to be allowed based on the relevant factors.

In the Court of Session the court will not ordinarily determine the amount of any additional fee. They will normally only allow an additional fee and the amount of that fee will then be decided by us. Only in the event that we are unable to agree the amount of additional fee should the matter require to be referred to the auditor of court.

In summary cause proceedings, the sheriff will consider the merits of the motion and they will fix the level of additional fee payable by way of a percentage increase.

List of factors the court will consider

The factors the court considers are:

  • Complexity of the proceedings and the number, difficulty or novelty of the questions involved.
  • Skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required of and the time and labour expended by you.
  • Number and importance of the documents prepared or perused.
  • The place and circumstances of the proceedings or in which your work of preparation for and conduct of it has been carried out.
  • Importance of the proceedings to your client.
  • The amount or value of money or property involved.
  • The steps taken with a view to settling the proceedings, limiting the matters in dispute or limiting the scope of any hearing.
  • Any other fees and allowances payable to you in respect of other items in the same proceedings and otherwise charged for in the account.

Setting the level of the additional fee

In the Court of Session or Sheriff Appeal Court, we (or an Auditor) have the authority to determine the level of additional fee which should be awarded. The maximum additional fee which may be awarded for any civil legal aid proceedings is 50%.

We will seek to agree the level of additional fee direct with you. Only if agreement cannot be reached will you need to exercise your right to have the additional fee fixed by the relevant Auditor. In the Court of Session this is the Auditor of the Court of Session and in the Sheriff Appeal Court this is the auditor of the Sheriff Appeal Court.

In summary cause proceedings where the sheriff grants the motion for an additional fee they will also fix the fee up to a maximum 100% increase.

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