In March, we recognised that during the Covid-19 restrictions, solicitors may not be able to get client signatures on Legal aid declarations.
We advised that if you are consulting with clients remotely, or encounter other practical difficulties, such as the need to avoid sharing pens, we can accept applications without the client’s signature in these circumstances for the time being.
Online application: when you are asked to confirm that the declaration has been signed by the client, you should say “No”, and give the explanation ‘Coronavirus’.
In applications where this option is not given: you should indicate that you are signing on behalf of the client and give the date for this.
This advice still applies for the time being, but where it is possible, you should obtain your client’s signature.
Where it is not possible, the following guidance is a reminder of the steps you should take to ensure that you keep adequate evidence of your client’s instructions in the case, and relevant information on their financial circumstances.
If you have any queries on the update, please contact:
Kingsley Thomas, Head of Criminal Legal Assistance E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Morrice, Civil Finance Manager E: email@example.com