This page provides information on increases for the use of counsel within children’s A&A or ABWOR. It covers the limited scenarios in which the use of counsel under A&A is likely to be permitted (Opinions and consultations); the factors SLAB considers when assessing increase requests for counsel’s Opinion (including for appeals); the use of senior counsel; whether an increase is available for counsel to draft court documents; and the use of counsel in ABWOR cases.
The use of counsel under advice and assistance is limited. You can ask for increases:
If you are seeking an increase for an Opinion of counsel:
We will consider the following when you seek an increase for an Opinion from counsel:
You may want to get an Opinion of counsel in connection with an appeal application to the Sheriff Appeal Court or Court of Session covering the prospects of such an appeal and whether the statutory tests for granting an associated legal aid application might be met.
Where your client was legally aided and had approval for counsel (junior and/or senior) to conduct the proceedings which are the subject of the appeal then that previous grant will cover an Opinion from that counsel on the prospects of success of an appeal and the statutory merits tests for granting a legal aid application.
Where your client was not legally aided or not represented by counsel in first instance you can ask for an increase in advice and assistance for an Opinion.
We do not need to see an Opinion from counsel in every application for legal aid to appeal to the Sheriff Appeal Court or Court of Session. Ordinarily, if we need an Opinion from Counsel we will continue your application to ask for one.
Requests for Opinions from senior counsel will be for advice on a very complex issues or a novel point of law. A note from junior counsel recommending the employment of senior counsel may be helpful.
Advice and assistance cannot be made available for any step in instituting, conducting or defending associated children’s court proceedings. For example, counsel drafting or responding to Grounds of Appeal for the sheriff would not be covered by advice and assistance.
Although Regulation 21 of the 2013 Regulations allows us to approve the employment of counsel to represent an individual at a children’s hearing or pre-hearing panel in practice it is unlikely that such approval would be granted. However any request made will be considered on its own facts and circumstances.
This is because children’s hearings and pre-hearing panels are non-adversarial. Their purpose is not to establish or re-examine disputed facts or to reconsider the legitimacy of an earlier decision but to make decisions about the need for compulsory measures of supervision for the child. A panel consists of three lay members (with appropriate training) and encourages at all times the participation and views of the child and other parties involved. If you meet the five key competencies laid down in the Children’s Code of Practice, you are likely to be able to represent your client’s interests in such a case without involving counsel.
Increases in authorised expenditure
This page provides information on when increases in children’s cases are needed. It covers when increases may be needed in: an initial Children’s Hearing; at a criminal advice hearing; at an adoption advice hearing; and in relation to Child Protection Orders and related hearings. The sections set out the levels of increase generally available and the circumstances in which they may be needed.
Increases in authorised expenditure
Find out about increases for attending Social Work Case Conferences, Child in Care Reviews, Adoption matching panels etc, and our assessment of these.