Fees chargeable for time spent travelling are based on the status of the person and the date of the travel.

  • Travel is prescribed under paragraph 5A of Schedule 5 of The Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Regulations 1989 or paragraph 4A of Part 1, Schedule 3 as amended by the Legal Aid and Advice and Assistance (Solicitors’ Travel Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

Ensuring fees for travel are necessary and reasonable

We must ensure that all work claimed is actually, necessarily and reasonably done for conducting the proceedings in a proper manner, as between solicitor and client, third party paying.

When necessary travel is undertaken, we would accordingly expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have:

  • Kept the overall cost to a minimum, having regard to the combined costs of travel time and associated outlays. For example:
    • While the cost of a train or air fare may be cheaper than the corresponding mileage charge, when factoring in the time spent in travelling it may be more cost effective for you to drive.
  • Plan travel as far in advance as possible to ensure you are not travelling to the same destination over consecutive days.
  • Combine journeys wherever possible.
  • Attend more than one client at different destinations when possible.
  • Plan the journey using the most efficient route, avoiding doubling back.
  • Ensure that the same solicitor, or unqualified person to whom work is delegated, has attended on the client or clients (and, where work is undertaken by a firm over a wide area, the same solicitor should be delegated to undertake work in a particular area to avoid or at least reduce duplication of costs).
  • Share the car journey when appropriate.
  • Avoid peak time travel where possible.
  • Arrange appointments in advance of attending.

Charges for travel shall always include start and finish times.

Providing the postcodes of the departure point and destination helps us assess your account more quickly. We routinely check distance and duration of travel using route planners and will restrict claims that exceed the recommended duration or distance, unless you explain why this has been exceeded.  We may also check weather and road reports.

Travelling to meet the client

The onus is on your client, where possible, to visit your office.  Where this is not possible we can consider a reasonable time and mileage charge.

Examples which may support a charge are where your client is:

  • In hospital.
  • In a secure unit.
  • Unable to travel on medical grounds.
  • Subject to a movement restriction order.
  • Subject to bail conditions preventing travel.
  • Too young or elderly to make the journey.

Consecutive days’ travel

Where you are attending a location on consecutive days you must consider the most economic option.

You should consider if it is more economic to:

  • Travel each day.
  • Stay overnight.

Where you choose the option with the higher overall cost, we will pay reasonable costs based on the most economic option.

We appreciate that there may be no option but to travel each day.  Where you can demonstrate that this was necessary and reasonable, you will receive the full expenses.  We would not consider personal circumstances as sufficient justification, unless exceptional reason can be shown.

Travel to your local court

You are not entitled to claim for time and mileage in relation to travelling to your local sheriff court.

Travel outwith normal working hours

If you offer a 24 hour helpline service to your clients, it is likely you will be carrying out work outwith normal working hours. In line with normal commercial practice, we will pay you the cost of travel either from your place of business or your home address, whichever is the shorter distance.

Travel from home

In line with normal commercial practice, we will pay you the cost of travel either from your place of business or your home address, whichever is the shorter distance.

Place of business

Following a criminal taxation (PF -v- TV and PF v CS) heard before the Auditor of Court at Linlithgow in 1992, counsel’s note was obtained and this opined that a partner has “a place of business” while an employee of a firm has “a place of employment”.

Therefore, where a firm has multiple offices, travel undertaken by a partner should be charged from his firm’s closest “place of business”.  It is not reasonable to charge travel time and costs from the more distant office when you have a functioning office located more locally, whether or not that office undertakes children’s business.

Travel necessarily undertaken by an employee is chargeable from his or her “place of employment”.

Apportionment of travel

It must be clear from your accounts that travel has been properly apportioned to ensure that, for example:

  • One client does not subsidise another client (it is not appropriate to charge all costs against one case and nothing against the others as all costs must be apportioned equally).
  • There is no duplication of charging.
  • The correct fee is charged.

It is the overall cost of travel, not just the time involved that must be apportioned. The actual time for travel is the same for all cases, and the cost should be divided equally.

Example: How to calculate travel costs

Travelling time for a return trip for 4 clients is 30 minutes.

You should calculate the individual charge per case based on the overall cost of 30 minutes travel and divide this by 4.

It is not appropriate to divide the travel time by the number of clients and round that time up to the next minute block.  Based on the above example, 7.25 minutes per file, which after being rounded up the minimum 15 minute block creates a total charge equivalent to 1 hour, against the actual time spent of 30 minutes.

The total cost of associated outlays should also be apportioned by the number of cases.

Providing additional advice to the same client at destination

Where you travel to visit your client matter and have to give additional advice on a different matter, you should apportion the total time taken between all cases for that client.

Example: How to calculate travel costs for same client at same destination

30 minutes travel to and from (total travel time is 60 minutes)

The outward travel is chargeable solely to the matter for which you attended to provide the original advice i.e. 30 minutes; the return travel should be apportioned between both matters i.e. 15 minutes.

Providing additional advice to another client at destination

There can be instances when you travel to a facility only intending to see one client. While you are there, you may find that another client needs advice on another matter. In these circumstances, you should charge for travel to the facility under the original case and apportion the return travel equally between both cases.

Multiple destinations

It may not be possible to apportion matters equally where more than one destination is involved.

For example, you might be travelling from Glasgow to Edinburgh for one client, then going on to see another client in Dunfermline and then returning to Glasgow. You should consider the timings of meetings and the distance to travel before working out the most economical way. In this example, the second part of the table below shows how to attribute the cost to each case correctly.

Overall mileage and time Mileage Time
Glasgow to Edinburgh 48 00:59
Edinburgh to Dunfermline 20 00:40
Dunfermline to Glasgow 20 00:56
TOTAL 118 02:35

 

Client 1 Mileage Time
Glasgow to Edinburgh 48 00:59
Dunfermline to Glasgow÷2 25 00:28
Total 73 01:27

 

Client 2 Mileage Time
Edinburgh to Dunfermline 20 00:40
Dunfermline to Glasgow÷2 25 00:28
Total 45 01:08
Overall mileage and time 118 02:35

 

(Outward journey allocated to appropriate case, return journey apportioned equally)