Before you can grant advice and assistance you must be satisfied that your client is eligible for advice and assistance, with or without a contribution (regulation 8 of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996).
You can only start charging for this work when you are satisfied on all the relevant criteria, including financial eligibility. We will abate any work claimed in an account where you carried out work without appropriate assurance of your client’s eligibility. It makes no difference that this may all take place on the same day. Since it is you, as nominated solicitor, who grants advice and assistance, it follows that there is no advice and assistance until you are satisfied on all relevant criteria.
If you give a diagnostic interview, and we later authorise standard advice and assistance, the diagnostic interview is substituted by the standard advice and assistance. Therefore, work under the standard advice and assistance is chargeable from the time you granted the diagnostic interview.
However, if the case is one of the other categories for which you have to apply to us for approval to give advice and assistance– for example, if another solicitor has previously given advice and assistance to the client on the same subject matter – work becomes chargeable on the date that we approve the grant of advice and assistance.
You cannot charge for time spent getting information from your client about:
This is because this pre-dates you being satisfied about your client’s financial eligibility. If we have been asked to authorise a transfer of advice and assistance to a second solicitor, the effective date is the date when we give that authority.