You must always complete and retain on file a Declaration Form; namely the form headed ‘CHLA/LAO – 2011 Act’ for the following children’s legal aid applications:

  • A sheriff court proceeding under the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (most commonly a S101 proof or S154 appeal against a panel hearing’s decision).
  • An onward appeal from the sheriff to the Sheriff Appeal Court or Court of Session.
  • A S48 Application to the sheriff for variation or termination of a Child Protection Order.
  • Special Urgency legal aid associated with any of the above applications.
  • Representation of a child at certain specified hearings by the Duty solicitor providing automatic legal aid.

This Declaration Form (previously referred to as ‘the Mandate’):

  • Captures all your client’s necessary personal details.
  • Gives your client permission to make the application and authority to us to make any necessary financial enquiries to verify your client’s stated financial position.
  • Gives your client permission for their details to be disclosed for the purposes of quality assurance checking.

The Declaration Form will enable you to record key information and capture your client and your own signature.

All Declaration Forms must be:

  • Signed and dated by your client.
  • Signed and dated by you.
  • Completed in full.

You do not have to send us a copy of the Declaration Form but as part of our audit and quality checks, we will randomly verify that Declarations have been completed and signed appropriately. If this is not done or the Form is incomplete you may not be paid for any work you carry out.

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, you can sign on the client’s behalf, and tick the box that asks you to confirm you have obtained your client’s signature.  You can then say “coronavirus” in the additional information box at the end of the application.

Where your client is a child

  • An application for a child can only be made where you consider that the child is old enough to directly instruct you to act and where they want you to apply for legal aid.
  • Where the child is making the application, they must sign the Declaration Form.
  • Only where legal aid is being applied for on behalf of a child by a relevant person, Safeguarder or other representative can that person sign the Declaration Form on behalf of the child.
  • You can never sign a Declaration Form on behalf of the child unless you are acting in a representative or fiduciary capacity, such as a Safeguarder.
  • If the child cannot write, leave the signature blank and you should note in the file that the contents of the Declaration Form have been fully explained to the child.
  • The Declaration Form should only be signed by the child once it has been fully completed.  Where the child is instructing you to act on their behalf and they are not present when the Declaration Form is being completed, the Form should be then sent to the child by post or email or other means for signing.  The legal advice and assistance grant should not be submitted online until the signature of the child, or their representative where appropriate, has been obtained on the Declaration Form.
  • The child, or their representative where appropriate, should never be asked to sign a blank or incomplete Declaration Form.
  • You must also and always sign the Declaration Form when it is completed. You can never sign the Declaration Form on behalf of the child in addition to signing the Form as their solicitor.

Where your client is an adult

  • An application for an adult (usually a relevant person or person seeking that status) can only be made where you consider that the adult is capable of directly instructing you to act and where they want you to apply for legal aid.
  • Where such an adult is making the application, they must always sign the Declaration Form.
  • You can never sign a Declaration Form on behalf of your client unless you are acting in a representative or fiduciary capacity, such as the adult’s curator ad litem.
  • If your client cannot write, leave the signature blank and you should note in the file that the contents of the Declaration Form have been fully explained to your client
  • If your client has someone acting in a fiduciary or representative capacity for them, such as a curator ad litem, then that person can sign the Declaration Form for them.
  • The Declaration Form should only be signed by your client once it has been fully completed.
  •  Where your client is instructing you to act directly on their behalf and they are not present when the Declaration Form is being completed by you, the Form should be then sent to them by post or email or other means for signing.  The legal aid application should not be submitted until the signature of your client, or their representative, has been obtained on the Declaration Form.
  • The applicant, or their representative where appropriate, should never be asked to sign a blank or incomplete Declaration Form.
  • You must also and always sign the Declaration Form when it is completed. You can never sign an application Form on behalf of your client in addition to signing the Form as their solicitor.

 

 

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