Civil legal aid block fee accounts: list of miscellaneous fees

A number of individual fees are listed for miscellaneous procedure, separately chargeable, subject to any qualification set out within each individual fee, in addition to the block fees.

Affidavit 4(a) one unit per sheet

Each sheet of affidavit is payable as one unit.

A sheet is 250 words or numbers.

The fee includes the notarial fee unless, on cause shown, the affidavit cannot be notarised within the principal agent’s firm, in which case a fee of one unit is payable to the external notary.

Charges levied by notaries outwith the United Kingdom shall be paid according to the circumstances of the case.

Contact Arrangements - 4(b) six units

This fee is payable only once per case.

The fee covers arranging or attempting to arrange interim contact arrangements where appropriate.

This fee will be payable in most cases which involves a crave for contact.

Where the proceedings relate to an action of residence a party seeking a contact order from the court requires to have legal aid for contact.

However, if the receiving party in an action of residence does not oppose any contact we would allow the contact arrangement fee as your client is not formally opposing the order and, as such, does not require legal aid for contact.

In any case where contact is a live issue being considered by the court you should be mindful of this and include a carve for contact this in their application, even if there is no crave for contact in the written pleadings.

If an applicant is seeking contact or defending/counterclaiming for contact then it must be included in the application.

Notice to Admit - 4(c) four units

This fee is payable only once per case.

The fee covers all work preparing and serving/receiving a Notice to admit and serving a counter notice if required.

Joint Minute of Admissions - 4(d) four units

This fee is payable only once per case.

The fee covers the preparing and/or considering and executing a joint minute of admissions with a view to avoiding unnecessary evidence or disposing of some (but not all) craves.

Settlement conference/negotiation – 4(e) a fee of one unit per quarter hour (subject to a maximum charge of eight units)

This fee is payable only once per case.

The fee covers the participating in a settlement conference or negotiation after the allowance of a proof or debate where the solicitor making the claim is authorised in advance by the client to participate

The fee is payable only where the settlement conference or negotiation takes place in one location or by telephone and only after the allowance of a proof or debate and only in relation to one meeting (including a continued meeting) in relation to any case and is payable only where:

  • negotiation commences at least 14 days prior to the proof; and
  • the fee under paragraph 4(f) is not charged in the case

and where this fee is claimed the work done should be clearly documented on the file, for perusal, if required, by us.

1 unit for each 15 minutes of time is payable up to a maximum of eight units or two hours of time.

If we are not able to determine from the account or any other information available to us that the negotiation commences at least 14 days prior to the proof we will ask for clarification before paying the fee.

Where the extra-judicial settlement fee (paragraph 4(f) is charged in addition to this fee we must disallow this fee.

Extra Judicial Settlement - 4(f) eight units

This fee covers the work undertaken to formalise settlement

This fee can only be charged where no other attendance fee is charged in relation to any appearance at which authority is interponed to the Joint Minute.

Similarly, it is not payable in addition to any fee under paragraph 5(a)(ii) or (iii), in relation to the preparation for proof or an evidential child welfare hearing, as those fees absorb this work.

However, the preparation fee under paragraph 5(a) (i) is chargeable in addition to this fee.

Similarly, the motion fee in paragraph 3(a)(ii) interponing authority to the joint minute would also be payable separately, if appropriate.

Where authority was interponed to the joint minute and you also charge for a hearing we will restrict the lower charge – which will most likely be the fee for conduct and waiting at court.

If the hearing including any conduct and waiting lasts more than two hours however we will disallow the extra judicial settlement fee to ensure you are being paid the higher of the two fees claimed.

Minute of Agreement – 4(g) one unit per sheet (subject to a maximum charge of eight units)

The fee covers the drawing/revising Minute of Agreement necessary to accomplish or record overall settlement.

The maximum fee allowed is eight units even if the minute of agreement exceeds eight sheets in length.

Report Fee - 4(h) four units

The fee covers instructing (if required) perusing and taking instructions on any report extending to at least four sheets obtained from a professional or expert person, either-where the report is commissioned by the solicitor for the assisted person or by the order of the court.

The fee is only payable where:

  • the report is commissioned by the solicitor for the assisted person; or
  • the report is commissioned by order of Court.

It is not payable where you receive a report from the other side unless it was one which had been ordered by the court.

The fee is chargeable only where the report extends to four sheets or more.

Additional Procedure - 4(i) four units

This fee is only payable where Additional Procedure is invoked in terms of Chapter 10 of the Ordinary Cause Rules in Schedule 1 to the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907 (to include attendance at any procedural hearing(s).

It also includes the attendance at any procedural hearings under rule 10.6 where the court will consider any matters in dispute.

When claiming this fee it is helpful to include a copy of the interlocutor appointing the cause under chapter 10.

You cannot charge a fee for additional procedure in any case where a progress fee is claimed under paragraph 2A and work is carried out which follows the amended procedures introduced by the Act of Sederunt (Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 Amendment) (Case Management of Defended Family and Civil Partnership Actions) 2022.

Additional fee where the action involves a third party minuter at any stage - 4(j) four units

This is to cover the work where the action involves a third party minuter at any stage. The fee is payable to all parties in the proceedings whose account is chargeable on a block fee basis.

You should be mindful that the pursuer or defender should seek an extension to their legal certificate once the minuter enters the process. The fee will be payable upon receipt of the minuter making the application or where the minuter lodges answers.

The third party minuter requires to charge their account on the basis of Schedule 5 (detailed) fees.

Additional fee - 4(k) four units

The additional fee is payable where the action involves any of the following:

  • a complex financial dispute leading to protracted negotiations
  • a complex pension sharing arrangement; or
  • a contentious contact dispute.

The fees under paragraph 4(k) are payable in respect of each of the circumstances prescribed but the fee cannot be claimed where an additional fee is granted on the ground that the case raised unusually complex issues of fact, including detailed consideration of extensive documentary evidence – see Schedule 6, chapter III, paragraph 7.

In terms of paragraph 14A, the fee in relation to a contentious contact dispute is payable only where the additional work is necessary as a result of a material issue and not due to one party’s refusal to resolve any contact issue.

There is no definition of what constitutes “material issue” but the issue of contact must be contested.

You should provide a brief supporting narrative in support of any of the additional fees being claimed.

Peremptory diet – 4(l) three units

This fee covers all work in connection with a peremptory diet (excluding attendance at court). A separate court fee can be charged in terms of paragraph 6 for the waiting and conduct of any hearing.

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