Initial checks and steps when granting A&A

There are various steps to be taken and information to be provided once you have decided to grant criminal advice and assistance. The online system will guide you through this process.

Determination on whether advice and assistance is criminal

When providing advice, you determine whether the subject matter to which the advice and assistance relates is a criminal, civil or children’s matter but in accordance with guidance issued by us from time to time [regulation 8(2)(a) of The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996]. You can find the category allocated by us to each matter in the category codes card issued with the Keycard.

This is especially important in view of the separate registration schemes for solicitors undertaking criminal, civil or children’s work. You may be registered to provide one but not the other. There are also different levels of fees and, only in connection with civil matters, the availability of standard advice and assistance and, separately, provision for a diagnostic interview.

We have, for example, determined that advice on prison rules is civil, and parole board proceedings are criminal.

Multiple applications

A client may seek advice from you on several different matters or on a number of cases under the same subject matter.

You should refer to our guidance in deciding whether these are distinct matters, entitling you to admit your client to a further grant of advice and assistance, or should all be dealt with under the same grant of advice and assistance.


Information to be recorded in criminal matters

The regulations [regulation 8C of The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996] state that where advice and assistance is given in relation to a criminal matter, you must record

  • Whether the matter is one as regards which
    • A complaint has been served
    • A fixed penalty, compensation or work offer has been made under section 302, 302A or 303ZA of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995
    • Liability for another non-court penalty has arisen
  • If not such a matter, a note of the details of the event to which the advice and assistance relates
  • A summary of the nature and content of the advice and assistance
  • Any relevant case or other reference number

This information should in normal course be collected by our online system, but must be made available if required by us.

Notifying us online

You must submit the online advice and assistance notification within 14 days of commencing advice and assistance. Additional information is not necessary, unless you need our approval, or need to give us information clarifying the applicant’s financial circumstances.  If you do not send us the form on time, your account may be ineligible for payment.

We have a discretion on this matter but can only accept late notification if we consider there was special reason for late submission.


See our guidance on solicitor and applicant signatures.




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