The question as to who can provide children’s legal aid is central to an understanding as to what is properly chargeable in an account.
Section 28B (2) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 states that only a solicitor (or where appropriate, counsel) can provide representation including all such assistance as is usually given by solicitor or counsel in the steps preliminary to or incidental to proceedings.
You must be registered to provide children’s legal aid.
You may entrust a case to another solicitor who is registered to provide children’s legal aid but you cannot entrust a case to a person who is not legally qualified [Section 31 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 Act.
A trainee who has been admitted as a solicitor, has a restricted practicing certificate and has been registered to provide children’s legal assistance can carry out work as a solicitor.
Work appropriately delegated to an unqualified person can only paid at unqualified rates. An unqualified person cannot charge for attendance at a court hearing or for any preparation in connection with a court hearing, except where they are assisting counsel, in the place of a solicitor.
A solicitor advocate in the sheriff court where prior authority has been obtained can only charge in accordance with Schedule 5 of The Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Regulations 1989 or, in the provision of automatic children’s legal aid, Schedule 3, Part 1 of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996.
Counsel in the sheriff court where prior authority has been obtained.
Junior counsel in the court of session where one junior counsel sanction is automatic. Additionally, the employment of senior counsel alone, of senior counsel with junior counsel, or of more than one junior counsel where prior authority has been obtained.