Notification of a grant of A&A, provision of ABWOR and your client’s declaration

You must ensure that you send us an online application within 14 days of the commencement of advice and assistance.

You can submit an online criminal advice and assistance notification. Use it for:

  • Telling us you have granted advice and assistance cases before a direct measure or summary complaint has been served, or if the direct measure is accepted (initial limit £35)
  • Telling us you have granted advice and assistance following the issue of a summary complaint or if the direct measure is challenged (initial limit £90)
  • A request for an increase in authorised expenditure

Notification of an ABWOR grant

You can notify us that you are providing ABWOR. Use it for telling us that you have granted ABWOR for:

  • A JP court case on a fixed payment basis (initial limit £185)
  • A sheriff court case on a fixed payment basis (initial limit £550)
  • Parole Board proceedings (initial limit £165)
  • Other post-conviction breach/review proceedings (initial limit £90)
  • Double jeopardy proceedings (initial limit £90)
  • An obstructive witness order in respect of witnesses apprehended (initial limit £90)
  • An initial grant of advice and assistance
  • A request for an increase in authorised expenditure under ABWOR

Notification in connection with police station advice and representation

You can notify us that you are providing advice and assistance or ABWOR under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016. Use it where the advice and assistance is for:

  • Your personal attendance and your client has exercised the right to a consultation [section 44 of the 2016 Act] (initial limit £225.00)
  • Your personal attendance and your client has exercised a right to have a solicitor present [section 32(2) of the 2016 Act] (initial limit £550)

You may also use this where:

  • The ABWOR is for review of a condition [section 19 of the 2016 Act] (initial limit £200)
  • The ABWOR is for review of a condition of an undertaking [section 30 of the 2016 Act] (initial limit £200)
  • The advice by way of representation relates to an application for authorisation for questioning by a prosecutor [section 36(1)(a) of the 2016 Act] (initial limit £200)

Prior authority to provide ABWOR

You can also submit an online application to ask for our approval to provide ABWOR for:

  • Removal of a disqualification from driving
  • Proceeds of crime proceedings
  • Post-police station proceedings before the sheriff

Recovery proceedings (specification of documents procedure)

If you admit your client to criminal advice and assistance, you must send the online application within 14 days of commencing A&A.  If you have to apply to us for approval to make ABWOR available, ABWOR only begins on the date on which we grant your request.

It is important that you refer to the category codes card when providing advice and assistance.

Late notification of grant of a criminal A&A

You must submit your application within 14 days of commencing advice and assistance.  If you do not submit the application on time, it may be rejected.  We can only accept late applications if we consider there is a special reason to do so [Regulation 11 of The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996].

Your client’s declaration

For every online advice and assistance application, you must obtain a declaration signed by your client, to be retained by you in your office.

You can do this by either printing the completed online application or the client declaration [AA/LAO/CRIM].

You do not have to send us a copy, but as part of our audit and quality checks we may seek verification that this has been signed. If necessary, you may initially complete the application in the absence of your client where it is not immediately practicable to do so. It is your responsibility to ensure that your client signs and dates the declaration.

Your client must:

  • Read the declaration before signing it
  • Insert the date when they actually sign the declaration
  • Not be asked to sign the declaration on a form in which any boxes are left blank

Your client’s signature should not be altered or written over an erasure. Any amendment should be initialled by your client.

The date of the declaration is linked to the seven day period in which disposable income is calculated.  Altering the date of the declaration changes that period and means the client could unwittingly run the risk of making a false disclosure if their financial circumstances have changed.

Any failure to follow these procedures may amount to a breach of our Code of Practice in relation to criminal legal assistance.

Covid-19

For the duration of the Covid-19 period, solicitors may not be able to meet clients in person.

This means that legal aid declarations cannot be signed by people. There may also be concerns about sharing pens with people.

If you are consulting with people remotely, or have any other health concerns such as sharing pens, we can accept applications without the client’s signature in these circumstances for the time being.

In the online application, when you are asked to confirm that the declaration has been signed by the client, you should say ‘No’, and give the explanation ‘Coronavirus‘.

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