Criminal ABWOR is a type of advice and assistance where you are entitled to provide representation.

You cannot provide ABWOR until a complaint is served.

You can establish whether ABWOR is available for proceedings by referring to The Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Regulations 2003. These regulations list all such proceedings and any merits or means tests that you need to apply. If the proceedings are not listed, ABWOR is not available.

ABWOR is available for summary criminal proceedings [regulation 3(a)].

The nature and scope of the ABWOR that may be provided in summary criminal proceedings depends on whether the client:

  • is not in custody – regulation 6(1) applies
  • appears from custody – regulation 6A applies.

The criteria for deciding whether ABWOR may be provided are prescribed at regulation 7.

“Post-conviction” proceedings under the 1995 Act are listed at regulation 4.

ABWOR can only be provided in the context of summary criminal proceedings where there is representation. You cannot submit an ABWOR account where there has been no representation. In circumstances where you may anticipate representation but it does not come about, you can charge for your work under advice and assistance.

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].

Covid-19 Update – Representation

To address the specific challenges arising from the Covid-19 related changes in the operation of the criminal justice system, the definition of ABWOR and the term ‘diet’ in regulation 6 of the 2003 ABWOR regulations can include representation by way of written exchanges for the duration of the Covid-19 restrictions only. 

Solicitors can grant ABWOR for eligible clients in cases where you will not attend a physical calling of the case to represent their client. You should notify us of the grant using legal aid online, and accounts can also be submitted in the usual way once the plea has been tendered, in writing, on the client’s behalf. All other eligibility tests remain in place.

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