Approval for unusual expenditure or work likely to involve unusually large expenditure

Regulation 21 provides that you need our prior approval for work of an unusual nature or likely to involve unusually large expenditure.  No specific criteria for approval are laid down in the regulations and the matter is at our discretion.

All work done, and any item of expense incurred in a legal assistance case, is subject to our scrutiny and possible abatement, and may also be subject to taxation by the auditor.  To this extent, the requirement for prior approval for unusual work or unusually large expenditure can work as a safeguard for you.  It is much better for you to know in advance whether or not we will pay for an item of expenditure before it is incurred.

Applying for approval

You must apply for approval online and provide all the information requested.  In a case of exceptional urgency, you may apply by telephone then send us the online application if we grant or part grant your application over the telephone.

Work likely to involve unusually large expenditure

Where the cost of work you seek to carry out is less than £3,000, excluding VAT you do not need our approval  However, you only have authority to do the work if a final cost, not an estimated cost at the outset, is £3,000 or less.

In addition, the whole charge, and not just that exceeding £3,000, will be abated if it exceeds this limit.

This limit of £3,000 does not apply to work of an unusual nature where you must always seek approval before the work is carried out.

Work of an unusual nature

You must always seek approval for work of an unusual nature before it is carried out, irrespective of the cost of the unusual work.

Examples of unusual work which would require our prior approval include:

  • taking evidence on commission
  • drafting a Devolution Minute and attendance at any hearing fixed
  • qualified or unqualified staff travelling out with the UK to get statements or for any other purpose
  • any applicant’s travel costs
  • qualified or unqualified staff keeping a watching brief in other proceedings
  • qualified or unqualified staff conducting a site visit/locus inspection.

These examples are not exhaustive. If you are in any doubt about this you should before instructing or carrying out any such work, contact us to discuss the work concerned.

Examples of work which we do not consider unusual and do not require prior approval include:

  • drafting a Petition for specification of documents and conduct of any hearing fixed along with any steps following that hearing to attempt to obtain the voluntary release of the material in question.  If the documents are not provided voluntarily after service of the Specification of Documents on the haver, and a commission is needed, then our prior approval is not required.  (However, if you want to proceed straight to a commission without first attempting the optional procedure, then you do need to apply for prior approval.)
  • administration charges from an agency providing you with copies of records where you have permission to obtain them
  • unqualified staff taking witness statements with likely additional expenses such as an overnight stay to avoid more travelling at a later date
  • expenses of your client’s non expert witnesses appearing in the proceedings including travelling expenses such as air fares if they do not exceed £3,000 per witness
  • expenses of your client’s expert witness to give evidence in court where we have already approved that expert to provide a report unless this would cost more than £3,000
  • expenses involved in you travelling to see your client (child or adult)
  • expenses involved in travelling to view a JII if the Reporter is relying on it in evidence and is unable to provide you with a copy.

These examples are not exhaustive.  If you are in any doubt about this you should, before instructing or carrying out any such work, contact us to discuss the work proposed.

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