The Legal Aid and Advice and Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) (No.2) Regulations 2023 came into force on 29 April 2023.
This Guidance item has been amended to reflect the new regulations.
For the regulations in force prior to 29 April 2023, please refer to the archive Guidance item.

Schedule 1A prescribes the core fixed payment where the case is before the sheriff court, chargeable at any stage of the proceedings where you provide criminal legal aid and the case does not proceed to trial beyond the first 30 minutes.

The fee includes all work up to and including the sentencing procedure.

Regulation 4(1A) provides that fixed payments are payable only under Schedule 1 or 1A as an alternative to each other in circumstances where summary legal aid is provided.

The only fees chargeable, according to the circumstances of the case, are as follows:

Paragraph 1 – core fee

Paragraph 1 prescribes the core fixed, which includes all work up to and including

  • any diet at which a plea of guilty is made and accepted or plea in mitigation is made
  • the first 30 minutes of conducting any trial
  • a first or second diet of deferred sentence
  • advising, giving an opinion and taking final instructions on the prospects of an appeal against conviction, sentence, other disposal or acquittal, and
  • any subsequent or additional work other than that of the kind specified in paragraphs 6 to 10 of Schedule 1.

This payment represents the total fee payable for all work that you undertake up to and including the sentencing procedure, except work for which a further fixed payment is prescribed. These further fixed payments are available in the circumstances of each individual case. If a piece of work is not covered by such an “add-on” then it is included in the fixed payment. There is no work undertaken in a case for which there is no payment.


The only fees separately chargeable in the sheriff court in addition to the core fixed fee are as follows. All references are to Paragraphs 6 to 10 of Schedule 1.

Paragraph 6 – deferred sentences

The core fixed payment subsumes a first or second deferred sentence. Only further deferred sentence hearings beyond the first and second hearings are separately chargeable. It follows that the fees prescribed by this paragraph are only chargeable where the fee for the deferred sentence is not already subsumed within the core fee.

Where proceedings such as failure to appear are subsumed within the certificate for the substantive proceedings and there are deferred sentences attributable to this element of the combined proceedings, the first and second deferred sentences are also separately subsumed within the core fixed payment. In the unlikely event of there being two deferred sentences in respect of the substantive proceedings and two deferred sentences under the failure to appear proceedings, where the proceedings maintain separate courses, all four deferred sentences would be subsumed within the core fixed payment for the “proceedings”.

You are entitled to a fee for a diet of deferred sentence other than where the fee is included within the core fixed payment for the case in respect of a first or second diet of deferred sentence.

In cases where the hearing deals with multiple complaints the prescribed fee is chargeable in respect of each separate complaint.

You can only claim for work actually done and should never claim for a deferred sentence when set down by the court in anticipation of attending a diet, which for one reason or another may not proceed.

Structured deferred sentence

A “structured deferred sentence”, understood to be the equivalent in certain courts to a DTTO but used primarily where the accused has a drink problem, shall be paid as a deferred sentence in the event that the proceedings have been adjourned under section 202 of the 1995 Act.

Such hearings are also treated as a deferred sentence in the application of the provision of the Schedules to the effect that the core fixed payment and case disposal fee subsumes a first or second deferred sentence.

Continued diet

The definition of a “diet of deferred sentence”, at regulation 2(1), includes those diets where the case has been adjourned for enquiries or reports under section 201 (power of court to adjourn case before sentence), section 202 (deferred sentence) and 203 (reports) of the 1995 Act.

A deferred sentence diet continued to a later part of the day’s proceedings cannot, therefore, be construed as a further adjournment.  In these circumstances, only one fixed payment is chargeable under paragraph 10ZA.  It is viewed by the court as the same diet which has been continued to a later part of that day’s proceedings, and we assess it accordingly.

Appearance on a warrant

An appearance from custody on a warrant where the client has previously failed to attend at a deferred sentence itself is not to be construed as a deferred sentence.  The current definition of a diet of deferred sentence means that only a diet adjourned in advance to a particular day, whether the adjournment is under sections 201, 202 or 203, can be construed and allowed as a deferred sentence.  Whether or not the court takes the opportunity on the day to deal with the deferred sentence, the accused having been apprehended does not make it a diet adjourned for the purpose of sections 201, 202 or 203 of the 1995 Act or chargeable as such. You will have been paid for the abortive diet, if it called.

Note: The definition of “deferred sentence” was amended by the 2014 fixed payments and ABWOR regulations [S.S.I. 2014 No. 366], as at 17 December 2014. There was no definition as such of a section 202 diet of deferred sentence in the Table of Fees and a section 202 deferred sentence, dealt with by the court on the day,  was arguably chargeable on a claim for a section 202 deferred sentence taking place at the warrant hearing on apprehension of an accused person. This point is no longer arguable.

Paragraph 7 – additional payment for a section 203 hearing

A fee under paragraph 7 is chargeable (once only) where

  • the court considers a social enquiry report under section 203, and
  • the case is disposed of during the course of a first or second diet of deferred sentence (both these hearings being subsumed within the core fixed payment or case disposal fee).

Please remember that this payment can only be claimed in connection with a deferred sentence for a social enquiry report.

In terms of the regulation, the additional payment is payable only where the case is “disposed of” at one of the two subsumed diets, and is not separately chargeable where

  • the case is continued to a further diet or diets of deferred sentence, or
  • the case is disposed of at a diet for which a further fixed payment is payable.

So, where the accused is convicted and the sheriff fixes a DTTO order, as an alternative to sentence by other traditional means, you will be entitled to payment of an additional fee. The sheriff has clearly disposed of the matter.

Also, in Glasgow where there is a referral to the Drug Court payable under Schedule 1, part 2 under the certificate, this is also a disposal. The proceedings may not be at an end, but nevertheless there has been a disposal in these circumstances. The additional fee is payable.

Paragraphs 8 and 9 – automatic criminal legal aid payment

Paragraphs 8 and 9 provide fixed payments for all work carried out under two separate instances in which automatic criminal legal aid is available.

The £28.40 fee is simply a device to ensure that no matter when the work is done in a summary case, the total fee remains the same as the core fixed payment.  This is achieved by reducing the core fixed payment by that amount where work has been undertaken under automatic legal aid.  The fixed payment for automatic work could be £28.40 or 28 pence; it is simply a figure to coincide with the equivalent reduction in the fixed payment to ultimately reconcile the payment for work done, no matter what or when it is done.

Paragraph 10 – bail appeals

Paragraph 10 provides a fixed payment for all work in connection with a bail appeal under sections 32 and an appeal under section 201(4) of the 1995 Act.  This fee includes all work carried out by the nominated solicitor and the Edinburgh agent in a bail appeal, subject to the provision for advocacy below, whether the bail appeal is heard on the first day or has to be continued to a second day.  The charge is for a bail appeal, unrelated to the time taken.

The fixed payment for a bail appeal is payable by reference to the proceedings per case, not per appearance.  Where bail appeals are proceeding at the same time in respect of separate complaints, not the same proceedings for fixed payments purpose, the prescribed fee applies to each individual case.

A fixed payment is prescribed in such an appeal where counsel is not employed. Separately, a further fixed payment is prescribed in respect of representation for a bail appeal or a continued diet of such an appeal, where counsel is not employed. Where counsel is employed no separate representation fee is appropriate and all work done by the solicitor is covered by the fee prescribed in paragraph 10(a).

Any travel and other outlays must always be apportioned between cases, where appropriate.

Bail review

A bail review is subsumed within the core fixed payment and should not be confused with a bail appeal.

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