To be eligible for ABWOR in summary proceedings, the client must be financially eligible for advice and assistance.

You must be satisfied that:

  • The client is financially eligible.
  • The client has no other rights and facilities available.
  • The client has not already received advice and assistance or ABWOR from a solicitor on this matter.

Summary criminal ABWOR is only available in the circumstances laid down [regulations 6(1), and 6A of The Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Regulations 2003]. The duty solicitor regulations [regulation 7] prescribe the circumstances in which you may act as an appointed solicitor.

Granting ABWOR

In all cases under either regulation 6(1) or regulation 6A of The Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Regulations 2003, you should use Legal Aid Online to notify us that a grant of ABWOR has been made or, following an initial grant of advice and assistance, you are now providing ABWOR in sheriff court or JP court proceedings.

If the client appeared from custody then the ‘appointed solicitor’ questions must be completed.

Where the client has been cited to appear or is appearing by way of an undertaking, the “interests of justice” factors must be addressed.

Under the “single payment” provisions, if you provide ABWOR at the pleading diet and the case is continued without plea resulting in a not guilty plea, any claim for payment under ABWOR is subsumed into a subsequent grant of summary criminal legal aid on tendering a plea of not guilty.  Only one core fixed payment is applicable under the fees and information regulations [regulation 7].

Initial limit of expenditure under regulations 6(1) and 6A

Taking into account the level of the fixed payments for summary criminal ABWOR and the potential for “add-on” payments, the initial limits of authorised expenditure for a summary criminal case under ABWOR are as follows:

  • ABWOR for a JP court case on a fixed payment basis, £185.
  • ABWOR for a sheriff court case on a fixed payment basis, £550.

Procedure for applying for an increase

You should use Legal Aid Online to ask for an increase in authorised expenditure.

Although you are entitled to payment under the fixed payments regulations, you should remember that ABWOR remains a form of advice and assistance and you must always ensure that you are acting within a sufficient level of authorised expenditure.

There is very little available excess over and above the principal fixed payments and if you need to carry out further work, for example deferred sentences that would take you beyond the initial limit, or you are likely to incur any outlay, you must apply to us for an increase in authorised expenditure to ensure that you have sufficient cover for additional costs.

Templates are available in certain circumstances.  These allow you to apply for one increase to cover the costs of deferred sentences and post-conviction hearings.

Withdrawal from acting for a client under ABWOR

If you are required to withdraw from acting for the client where you are providing ABWOR, you can notify us using a Legal Aid Online notification.

Unlike advice and assistance, a grant of summary criminal ABWOR can be transferred to another solicitor [regulation 14A of The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996].

In this section