Sanction in contempt of court cases

Availability of counsel in contempt proceedings and information required

Use of counsel in first instance proceedings

In contempt proceedings at first instance, there is no provision in the Act or regulations requiring prior approval from us to  employ counsel.  However, you may have to justify their use at the account stage.  In proceedings in courts where solicitor-advocates have a right of audience, “counsel” includes “solicitor-advocate”.

The court dealing with the contempt may direct that representation shall be by counsel only, or by solicitor only, and may assign any solicitor or counsel who is in the precincts of the court to represent the person.

If the court does not make such a direction, and counsel is employed, you will have to justify the expense when we consider your account.  If the court dealing with the contempt is one in which counsel has the exclusive right of audience, employing junior counsel will be a proper expense.  However, you may have to justify employing more than one junior or senior counsel, when we settle your account.

Use of counsel in appeals arising from contempt proceedings

If we grant legal aid for an appeal arising out of contempt proceedings, you need our prior approval to employ senior counsel, or more than one junior counsel, where the proceedings are in the Court of Session or the High Court.  Where the proceedings on appeal are in the sheriff court, you need our prior approval to employ counsel.

We may authorise the employment of counsel retrospectively if satisfied there is special reason to do so.

Expert witnesses in contempt cases

The circumstances in which you would need an expert witness, at whatever stage of the proceedings, are limited, although you might possibly need a medical expert to speak to the mental or physical state of the person being dealt with for contempt. 

Expert witnesses in first instance proceedings

You do not need approval when employing an expert at the stage of the contempt being dealt with in the court of first instance.  You would, however, have to justify the expense when you send us your account.

Expert witnesses in appeals arising from contempt proceedings

In proceedings on appeal, you must get our prior approval to employ an expert witness.

We may authorise employment of an expert witness retrospectively if satisfied there is special reason to do so.

Contempt legal aid...

...and work of an unusual nature or likely to involve unusually large expenditure: requirement of our prior approval

In all proceedings, whether at first instance or on appeal, you must get our prior approval where you propose to carry out work of an unusual nature or likely to involve unusually large expenditure.  You should apply to us for sanction through legal aid online.  We cannot grant sanction retrospectively.

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