Precognition fees available: Framing of precognition and time taken

The Table of Fees in Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996 provides for a fee for taking and drawing precognitions.

This subsumes:

  • Framing the precognition.
  • The time charged for taking it.

There is no framing charge under advice and assistance.

When is a precognition properly chargeable?

We only need and will pay for a brief, focussed precognition that addresses:

  • The statutory tests as to whether there is probable cause.
  • Whether it is reasonable to make civil legal aid available.

We are not required to determine the respective merits or demerits of the parties’ positions, so do not require any details to this effect.

We shall only pay for the precognition or the part of the precognition relevant to the person’s own account of events, restricted to the salient facts.

We may abate a precognition or reduce the number of sheets where it was not necessary, or where it contains any extraneous or unnecessary information, including:

  • Details of the client’s personal and financial circumstances to the proceedings such as arrears of rent, eviction proceedings.
  • A lengthy narration or restatement of information on a form, initiating or defending document.
  • A repetition of your client’s instructions.
  • A reference or review of case law, or other statements that clearly have not been made by the client.
  • The legal position or the consequences for your client or their remedies.
  • Statements based on the facts beyond the person’s own knowledge.
  • Irrelevant, extraneous information.

It is not appropriate to frame a precognition as a matter of routine and which simply reflects the instructions from the client on various matters. This is more correctly contained within a file note. This is included within the time charge for a meeting or telephone call and it remains on your file for further use.  It need not form part of a precognition for which a separate framing charge is payable in appropriate circumstances.

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