Consultation launched about approval for unusual work in civil legal aid cases

We are seeking the views of the profession and others in a consultation launched today about how we identify ‘unusual’ work when considering requests to approve work of an unusual nature. This consultation relates to civil legal aid.

What are we consulting on?

In civil legal aid cases, solicitors must request our approval to undertake ‘work of an unusual nature’.

We are now consulting on how we might change our current approach in this area, in particular how we:

  • develop and implement a definition of the term ‘unusual’
  • revise the list of work we currently consider to be unusual as part of our published guidance.

Our aim in exploring our policy in this area is to ensure our approach to unusual prior approval is as up to date and as proportionate as possible, avoiding unnecessary work for both solicitors and SLAB, while continuing to meet our obligation to ensure that all funded cases meet the statutory tests.

This change on which we are consulting is therefore aligned with the Legal Aid Review’s strategic aim of maintaining scope but simplifying.

How you can help

We want to hear your views on:

  • any forms of work which should no longer be considered unusual
  • the potential benefits and risks of the proposed policy change
  • how we could ensure our approach to unusual work approvals remains up to date.

The consultation is part of a process that will see us more clearly stating our policies and guidance for those applying for legal aid and our staff assessing the information provided.

The consultation is part of our Guidance on the Administration of Legal Aid project and follows work we’ve been doing with Scottish Government colleagues to agree a programme of work that can give effect to some of the themes set out in the government’s consultation on reforming legal aid.

Consultation document and how to respond

Please download the consultation document below for full details and for information on how to respond, including the online response form.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 9 September 2022.

If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact us by email at

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