This section deals with the information we require and the application of the financial test in the context of your client’s capital position, which does not just mean cash in the bank but the full range of your client’s assets.
Complete all parts of the online form as appropriate.
Providing all the information requested on the online application should enable us to consider the application without delay and avoid the need for us to continue the application for further information or documentation.
As is the case with income, if we find the client has wilfully given us false information, or not made a full disclosure, we will consider reporting the circumstances to the procurator fiscal for prosecution.
In this context, capital means savings and anything else of value owned by the client:
The following are not included as capital:
Where a client declares capital, we will require recent proof. For instance, if the capital is in an account such as an ISA, a recent copy statement is required for that account.
If capital or savings sums are used to cover weekly living expenses, we can consider these savings as weekly income instead. To do this, we need to know the length of time this capital sum is to cover. For example, if a student receives a grant or loan, or a contribution from their parents, in a lump sum at the start of the term or academic year, this sum is not included as capital but is entered as income. We convert the sum to a weekly income amount, based on the timescale. This then removes the capital from our capital assessment but includes the sum as weekly income. We require verification of the sum declared and confirmation of the period to do this.
A redundancy payment is usually included as capital. However, if an element of the redundancy payment covers any notice period, this can be declared as income, with any remaining payment covering severance declared as capital.
Where the client lives with a spouse or partner and/or any other dependant person or child, a standard allowance against capital is deductible for each dependant at the rates given in the current advice and assistance keycard.
If the client is of pensionable age (60 in all cases for this purpose), we may disregard some aspects of their capital depending on their disposable income.
The capital figure remaining, after deducting any allowances and/or dis-regards, is the client’s disposable capital.
Any client with disposable capital below the capital limit qualifies for criminal appeal legal aid on capital. However, if the figure exceeds the current limit, we look at the nature of the appeal involved before we determine whether meeting the expenses would cause undue hardship to the client.