Purpose of stage reporting and information to provide

The reporting process (whereby you send us reports at key stages of a case):

  • Helps you and us to review developments in a case
  • Allows us to consider whether legal aid should continue

 

Interim payment requests: no stage report required

You can ask for stage payments but you do not need to submit a stage report with such a request.  We will consider the stage payment request without any reference to stage reporting.

Cases sisted after a grant is made: no stage report required

Where a case is sisted for legal aid you do not have to submit a stage report.

Situations or changes which require an unprompted stage report to be made

It is your duty, along with the counsel, your client or assisted person, to report any changes in circumstance to us. You should immediately inform us of any change in circumstances, financial or otherwise [Regulation 23 the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002]:

  • Of your client or assisted person
  • Of any other person with whom your client is jointly concerned
  • Which may impact on our decision about whether your client has probable cause or that would affect their reasonableness to receive legal aid.

You are not precluded from reporting such circumstances because of any privilege arising out of the relationship between you and your client [Regulation 23(4) Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002].

You must submit unprompted reports where there has been a material change affecting the assumptions on which we granted legal aid.  As a result of these changes:

  • The statutory tests of probable cause and reasonableness may no longer continue to be met
  • The assisted person may no longer be financially eligible to receive legal aid
  • We may need to re-assess eligibility

List of scenarios where reports must always be provided

You must always provide a report where:

  • A case is sisted other than where it is sisted for legal aid.
  • A sist is recalled other than where the sist was only for the purpose of seeking legal aid
  • The outcome of any debate or hearing has changed the nature of the assisted person’s case.
  • Any hearing of any sort of three days or more is fixed.
  • A minute of tender is lodged and has not been accepted
  • You are given, or have information, that suggests the prospects of success in the case and/or the prospects of recovery have altered.
  • Where the total costs of the case are likely to increase significantly from information on costs you have previously given us.
  • In cases involving children, allegations of abuse or sexual abuse of any sort arise.
  • You have instructed an expert on behalf of your client and their report shows a material difference in position from that advanced by your client.
  • A child welfare report is obtained and the reporter is not supportive of your client’s position in the case.

Remember that you must always tell us if your client’s:

  • Overall disposable income increases by £500 or more or decreases by £200 or more within the twelve month computation period
  • Capital increases by £500 or more during the lifetime of the case (even if legal aid has been terminated beforehand).

Providing a report in the above situations allows us to consider whether the grant of civil legal aid should remain in place. You can provide reasons why you consider the grant should continue including:

  • Practical benefit to the assisted person
  • Prospects for any early settlement
  • Prospects for success;
  • If applicable, prospects of recovery
  • Prospects of avoiding elongated court procedure

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