An introduction to obtaining financial verification and when this should be provided
In general, you should always get documentary evidence of financial eligibility as early as possible, preferably at the initial meeting unless there is real urgency, and keep this on file. The onus is on the client to give you the necessary information. This will help you minimise the work you have to do to determine eligibility.
Obtaining financial verification deemed unchargeable
You cannot, under the terms of the regulations, charge for any time or work involved in obtaining information about, or assessing, financial eligibility, or for the cost of writing for any verification. For up-to-date information about eligibility limits use the Keycard.
Having the applicant sign the online declaration
You must get the applicant to sign the attached mandate form, AA/VERF/MAND, allowing enquiries to be made of third parties such as employers, benefits providers and banks, and use this authority to obtain any necessary documentary evidence the applicant has not given you. You should not, however, start to act until you are satisfied your client is eligible.
An introduction to implementing procedures to ensure financial verification is obtained
Most meetings with clients in civil and children’s cases are by appointment. We recommend that firms should put into place, and consistently apply, procedures similar to those for money laundering, and explain to the client when the appointment is made what documentation they should bring to the first meeting. Sometimes you may be satisfied that a client is financially eligible even though they have not brought this documentation to the first meeting – for example, where you have a long-standing solicitor/client relationship – and decide to give them advice and assistance. If so, you should clearly show this on your files, and it is important you have clear and well-applied procedures for following up any undertaking to produce the documentation at a later date or meeting.
Advice and Assistance financial verification
Read about our position in relation to cases where no documentary evidence of eligibility is immediately available for financial verification.