The limit of authorised advice and assistance expenditure

This page includes information on the limit of authorised expenditure in A&A. It covers what the limit is, how you can apply for an increase, our process for reconsidering a rejected request for an increase, urgent telephone requests for increases and the availability of retrospective increases.

Section 10 of the The Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986, as amended, provides an initial limit of £135 expenditure. Once you admit your client to advice and assistance you can carry out £135 worth of work without seeking any prior authority from us.

Applying for an increase in the authorised limit

Where you believe the cost of the work is likely to exceed the £135 limit, you must request authority to exceed the limit.

You must give us:

  • A summary of the work already done
  • Details of the further work that will be done if we grant the increase
  • Breakdown of any significant costs involved
  • Details of the existing limit, that is, either the £135 initial limit or any increased limit already authorised and details of the work carried out to that limit
  • Enough information to enable us to decide whether it is reasonable to grant the increase

We will refuse the request or grant a smaller increase, if we do not think that the increase sought is reasonable.  We may impose conditions on the advice and assistance and limit the subject matter dealt with.

Reconsidering requests for increases

If we refuse a request for an increase or restrict the amount sought, you can ask for a reconsideration of our decision. To do this you should submit a reconsideration request with additional information.  If it becomes clear that we will not grant any further increases and you have reached the limit of the authorised expenditure, you should tell your client that advice and assistance has ended and that they will have to pay for any further work privately.

Urgent telephone requests for increases

If the matter is extremely urgent and you need an increase immediately then, provided you can satisfy yourself the client is eligible, you can ask for this by telephoning the Children’s Legal Assistance Unit.  Outwith normal office hours calls may be made to 07711 424 344.

Where a telephone grant is made, you should submit an increase request as soon as practically possible. You will be asked to record details of the telephone call in your increase request, including the name of the person who granted you the increase.


No retrospective authority for an increase in authorised expenditure

We cannot retrospectively grant an increase in authorised expenditure under advice and assistance.  In the case of Drummond & Co. -v- Scottish Legal Aid Board 1992 SC(HL)1, the House of Lords accepted that our prior approval was required.  If you do work that exceeds the limit in force before an increase is granted, we will abate charges for that work from any account you later send us. We have no discretion in this matter.



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