The need to work within initial limit of authorised expenditure and increases in authorised expenditure

Where you believe that the cost of the work is likely to exceed the relevant initial limit [Section 10 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986] or level of authorised expenditure, you must apply to us for authority to exceed the existing limit by making an online increase application.

Applying for authority to exceed the limit

Information on the increase process

In dealing with a request for an increase, we consider each case on its own merits.  You may not always get an increase to the level you asked for, that is down to the judgement of the decision-maker based on the information provided.

When asking for an increase in authorised expenditure, you should provide us with:

  • A summary of the work already done
  • Details of the further work that will be done if we grant the increase
  • A breakdown of any significant costs involved, for example the anticipated outlay for a report
  • Enough information to enable us to decide whether it is reasonable to grant the increase

You should provide us with any documentation to which you refer, or other supporting information if it would assist us in dealing with your request.

Conditions on the increase

In response to a request for an increase, we may:

  • Refuse the request
  • Grant a smaller increase if we are not persuaded that the increase sought is reasonable
  • Impose conditions on the advice and assistance
  • Limit the scope of the proposed work

Where we do grant an application for an increase in authorised expenditure, you must use the increase for the purpose for which you sought it. We may not pay this part of your account on the basis that it was not authorised.

You can ask for more than one increase in any case and there is no upper limit on the expenditure which we can authorise.

Timing of increases: no retrospective effect before a grant

An increase in authorised expenditure can never be retrospective.    

Increases are not retrospective in their effect.  If you undertake work that exceeds the limit in force before an increase is granted, we will abate charges in excess of the existing limit for that work from any account you later send us.

We cannot grant an increase retrospectively in advice and assistance cases.  In the case of Drummond & Co v Scottish Legal Aid Board 1992 S.C. (HL) 1 the House of Lords decided that our prior approval was required.

Urgent requests

Information on requests on which a decision is urgently required.

We generally take decisions on increase applications on the day we receive them. If the matter is extremely urgent, you can ask for an increase by telephoning our Criminal Applications Department.

Outwith normal office hours, calls may be made to 0131 560 2180.  Where we grant an increase by telephone, you should send us an online increase application within seven days, where reasonable and certainly before any further increase requests.

Reconsideration of a request for an increase

You are entitled to ask us to reconsider a refusal/part-refusal

If we refuse a request for an increase, you can ask for a reconsideration of the decision by selecting the online ‘reconsideration’ option.

You should address our reasons for not granting and take the opportunity to provide further information.

You should inform the client that advice and assistance has ended in the event that we are not prepared to grant a further increase in authorised expenditure. You are entitled to come to an arrangement with your client thereafter, whereby the client pays privately for any further work.

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