Guidance applies to all aid types

Claims submitted on or after the 1 October 2022 must be submitted online using the procedures as outlined below.

Section 35 of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Act 2022, is effective from 1 October 2022. This introduces a single legal framework for claims for interim payment of fees and outlays by introducing new sections 33ZB and 33ZC of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986.

There are three key elements to be understood by anyone wanting to exercise the option of making an interim claim:

  1. At the interim claim stage, a fee claim is based on a declaration of the reasonable estimate of the fees payable up to the date of the claim. Any assessment by us is limited at the interim claim stage. Full assessment, which is still required, takes place at case conclusion (or the conclusion of your involvement, as the case may be).
  2. By making an interim claim you will be accepting a requirement to lodge a final account upon completion of the case, conclusion of your involvement, or otherwise as we reasonably require.
  3. There are new statutory powers of recovery in relation to overpayment of interim claims. Overpayments will be established unless you demonstrate at the final account stage that all payments made at the interim stage(s) were in fact due. In the event of an overpayment a firm is jointly and severally liable for a sum owed by a solicitor to us where the interim payment was made to the firm on the solicitor’s instruction.

You should be clear about the later requirements for a final account and the overpayment reimbursement consequences before you make any interim claim.

These changes have allowed us to introduce more streamlined and consistent procedures for making interim claims for almost all types of account, as set out below.

Solicitors' fees: procedure for submitting interim claims on or after 1 October 2022

  • Interim claims for fees will be made on a streamlined ‘pay now check later’ basis. You only have to provide us with details of the value of the fees that you would expect to be paid at the time of making the claim.
  • The exception to this is where you have previously made an interim claim prior to 1 October 2022 and you had to submit an account in support of that claim. For all such cases any further interim claims that you intend to make must continue to be submitted by using the pre 1 October procedures and an account must be submitted.

Account types where no interim payment is available

In line with current procedures you will not be able to submit an interim claim of fees or outlays for the following account types:

  • duty scheme
  • police station advice
  • civil advice and assistance diagnostic claims; or
  • where legal aid is not granted.

These cases should be commenced and concluded over a relatively short duration and the accounting should be submitted when your work has been completed.

Notional cost limits in respect of interim payment of fees

In light of these streamlined procedures, and purely for the purposes of interim claims of solicitors’ fees, we will be introducing notional cost limits on solicitors’ fees for claims being made in respect of criminal and children’s legal aid.

The notional cost limit will be set around the 90% percentile of fees for the relevant case category – in other words we have set the limit where 90% of cases currently fall in terms of the accounts that we pay. Civil and advice and assistance cases already have cost limits attached to those grants and those will continue to apply.

If you make a claim where the notional cost limit is being exceeded we will ask you to provide further information in support of the claim and to provide an estimate of the total fees that you expect to incur in the case. Where we need it, we will ask for more information and we have the right to reject a claim if it appears that the sum claimed is likely to exceed the sum we would expect to pay.

The notional cost limit procedures which are being introduced do not apply to final claims where you must still submit a full account in support of your fees and outlays.

Criteria for submitting a claim

  • The first interim claim may be submitted no earlier than 90 days following the date on which we gave notice in writing of the grant of legal aid or in summary criminal fixed payment cases in any case where a warrant has been issued
  • A second or subsequent interim claim may be submitted at any stage after the initial claim has been made.

How to submit a claim

The process for submitting a claim is a streamlined version of the process that previously existed for those types of cases that allowed for interim fee claims.

See full guidance in our e-learning and online guidance section.

Solicitors' outlays: procedure for submitting interim claims on or after 1 October 2022

The procedures remain unchanged and you must continue to submit vouching in support of any claim you make.

Criteria for submitting a claim

  •  A claim for reimbursement of outlays may be made if the outlays in total amount to at least £100.00.

How to submit a claim

You should follow this guidance to make a claim. Although this shows how to make a claim in respect of civil legal aid the procedures are virtually the same for all other forms of legal aid or advice and assistance.

Counsels' fees: procedures for submitting interim claims on or after 1 October 2022

The procedures for submitting claims remain largely unchanged and any claim made in respect of Counsels fees must continue to be supported by an appropriate invoice of the sum that you would expect to be paid. You are now able to make more frequent claims in line with the criteria below.

Payment will be made in accordance with the protocol we have agreed with the Faculty of Advocates and the relevant legislation, as appropriate.

Criteria for submitting a claim 

  • The first interim claim may be submitted no earlier than the date three months following the date on which we gave notice in writing of the grant of legal aid.
  • A second or subsequent interim claim may be submitted at intervals of not less than three months after the date of the immediately preceding claim in that case.

How to submit a claim

Claims must be submitted via email. Other than for members of Faculty of Advocates submitting a claim in terms of the Protocol mentioned above, each email claim must include a declaration in the standard terms for interim claims.

Civil claims must be submitted to

Criminal and children’s claims must be submitted to