If a legal aid application is urgent and a decision on the full application cannot be made in time then you can apply for special urgency legal aid or carry out certain specified steps in proceedings and tell us afterwards.
Depending upon the circumstances, and the type of urgent work you need to do, you may:
If we have approved work as a matter of special urgency to protect your client’s position, any legal aid that we subsequently grant will include that work.
Where the special urgency provisions are being used you must tell us and submit an application for full legal aid within 28 days of starting the work. When you have done work under regulation 18(1) (a) you must notify us of this at the same time as you apply for children’s legal aid. If you have already submitted an application you should use a special urgency notification. If you do not, the work will be excluded from any legal aid that may be made available.
Special urgency legal aid is available for court proceedings under the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 and Part 4 of the Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019.
For proceedings under the 2011 Act, you must always get our prior approval before you can carry out the work and be paid for the specially urgent work.
When we assess all applications submitted for cover in terms of regulation 18 of the Children’s Legal Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 2013, we have to decide if the work to be done is needed as a matter of special urgency to protect the position of your client.
For proceedings under Part 4 of the 2019 Act, for certain specified steps in proceedings you do NOT require our prior approval and you can go ahead and carry out the work without needing our approval.
The steps you can take without our prior approval are :
You will require our prior approval for any other steps that are not listed above.
Special urgency legal aid is only available to parents and other interested parties under the 2019 Act.
If you are applying for our prior approval under regulation 18(1) (b) for court proceedings under the 2011 Act or 2019 Act you should submit a special urgency application.
If we grant approval, we may limit the work or subject this to conditions, as we consider appropriate. While you do not need to notify us that work has actually been done following approval, you must ensure you have submitted a legal aid application within 28 days of beginning the urgent work. If you do not, the work will be excluded from any legal aid that may be made available.
We can refuse approval where any earlier application by your client for the same proceedings has been refused, treated as abandoned or terminated, unless you satisfy us that there is a realistic prospect that legal aid will be granted on reconsideration or in a further application.
We are not obliged to grant approval where:
Each application for our prior approval is considered on its own individual facts and circumstances. It is crucial that your reasons for the special urgency are included within the body of the application form. Consideration of special urgency applications is a priority matter for us and it is your responsibility to identify clearly and concisely the special urgency and why steps need to be taken to protect your client’s position immediately.
We do not, as a matter of course, grant special urgency cover for appeals against children’s hearings’ decisions under the 2011 Act involving a substantive decision on a full, rather than interim, compulsory supervision order despite the statutory 21 day time limit for lodging the grounds of appeal. If you are instructed by your client to appeal on the day of the hearing, or shortly thereafter, you will generally have enough time to submit a legal aid application for the appeal and have it determined in time to do any necessary work. If we receive full and detailed information, including any financial verification required, a decision on your application can be given quickly.
Special Urgency for proceedings under the 2011 and 2019 Acts
Find out about the scope of legal aid for special urgency work and the criteria to be met to ensure payment for this urgent work in 2011 Act proceedings.