Legal aid payments for cases during COP26

This update provides further details of how to claim:

  • the enhanced payments for nominated solicitors who are providing advice and representation to persons arrested or accused of COP26 related offences
  • the payment arrangements where a solicitor represents an accused person whose first appearance is an appearance from custody at a court operating on a Saturday or Sunday during COP26 in respect of a non COP26 related offence.

A ‘COP26 case’ means any matter treated by Police Scotland or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as relating to COP26. The COP26 period is 27 October – 14 November. We will verify the cases against the COPFS records.

The normal financial eligibility tests are still in effect for COP26 cases and Police Station advice continues to be non-means tested.

Details of the Scottish Government’s full package of payments are available in our recent update.

The payments included in this update are:

  • police Station advice and representation nominated solicitors
  • summary criminal fixed payment cases (including relevant ABWOR) in the sheriff court
  • non-COP26 cases for the first appearance from custody on a weekend if you provide named (or appointed) solicitor ABWOR.

Information about how to claim duty solicitor payments has not been included in this update.

Details of payments and how to make a claim

  • 1. All solicitors: Police station interviews for COP26 related cases – Fees payable under schedule 3 Part IV and VI of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996

    Any police station interview undertaken will be paid at an enhanced rate, equivalent to the higher unsocial hours’ rate, for up to four hours at £287.68 per case and £71.93 per hour thereafter.

    This enhanced rate will be paid for all COP26 related police station interviews to reflect the nature and importance of the work, irrespective of the time of day or day of the week.

    This payment covers all work, excluding travel, for personal attendance by a solicitor where the client has exercised a right to have a solicitor present in terms of section 32(2) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 or paragraph 16(6) of schedule 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or paragraph 37(6) of schedule 3 of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.

    For example, a one hour interview will be paid at £287.68. Interviews lasting more than four hours will be paid an additional fee of £71.93 per hour or each part thereof.

    Travel will be paid in addition, in line with the current provisions. If any part of advice or travel is done during a period of “unsocial time” (that is, a Saturday, Sunday or specified holiday or any time between 1900 hours and 0700 hours on any other day) then the higher rate for travel can be charged, otherwise the standard rate is chargeable.

    Making a claim

    Legal Aid Online can be used for these claims. A specific work item has been amended to allow you to do so. To make a claim:

    • the pre-existing fees should be used together with the COP26 work item
    • you should select the 'Other outlay/COP26' work item
    • you do not need to enter a fee for this work item
    • use the description to tell us that it is a COP26 case.

    If you select this work item, that will allow us to easily identify these cases and we will manually increase the relevant payments to ensure that you are paid inclusive of the enhanced payments.

    To easily find this work item, you can filter the work item selection to outlays only. Start to type 'COP26' and the work item search will be narrowed down showing the COP26 work item, as shown below:

     

    When you select this work item the fee will default to £0.00. Do not amend this, but enter in the description that it is a COP26 case, as shown in the example:

  • 2. All solicitors: Police station consultations for COP26 related cases – Fees payable under schedule 3 Part IV and VI of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996

    Any consultations by phone or in person under section 44 of Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 or any consultation under paragraphs 16A(6) and (7) of schedule 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or 38(6) and (7) of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 20192019 Act will also be paid at the rate of £124.38 per case.

    This enhanced rate will be paid for all police station consultations during the COP26 period, irrespective of the time of day or day of the week. Normal travel can also be claimed in addition to these payments. This is an individual payment per client and not per individual phone call, and will also cover any additional calls which may be needed for the client.

    Making a claim

    Legal Aid Online can be used for these claims. You must use the specific COP26 work item, as explained in No.1 above.

    To make a claim, the pre-existing fees should be used together with the COP26 work item. We will increase the relevant payments to ensure that the case is paid inclusive of the enhanced payments.

    If the consultation be followed by an attendance at an interview, then you are entitled to this fee as well as the enhanced interview payment payable. This is different to the existing arrangements, and applies to COP26 cases only.

    If you have already submitted a claim for the telephone consultation you will require to submit a supplementary claim for the interview.

    • To do this you should select the specific COP26 work item, leave the fee blank and then enter in the Description field the total time engaged in the police interview, as shown in the example below:

    If you have not already submitted a claim for a telephone consultation and the case proceeds to an interview:

    • you should claim the appropriate attendance at police station work item, enter the times specific for the interview and then select the COP26 work item to provide details of the telephone attendance (as shown above).

    Travel of greater than two hours is also possible without obtaining SLAB prior authority. You can use the current travel work item to specify the times you were engaged.

    The system will automatically restrict it to two hours and you’ll receive the warning message below. You can disregard this because we will adjust it to make the enhanced payment where it includes the COP26 work item.

    The screenshots below explains the process:

     

    You will receive the warning as shown in the screenshot below. However, you can disregard this and we will manually apply the appropriate enhancement to your travel fee.

     

  • 3. Criminal ABWOR fees: Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B of the Criminal Fixed Payment Regulations

    COP26 related relevant criminal ABWOR cases in the sheriff court, where ABWOR is provided by the nominated (or appointed) solicitor, will be paid an enhanced core fee of £578.61.   

    This is based on the fee which is payable under Schedule 1 of the Criminal Fixed Payment Regulations where professional services are provided in relation to proceedings in the sheriff court and those proceedings are brought in a Court specified in schedule 2 of those regulations, to reflect the additional work and preparation which will be required for dealing with these COP26 cases.

    A payment  of £108.16, will be payable for the representation in court, per appearance, at a third and subsequent deferred sentence hearing, where the hearing relates to one or more than one complaint

    Otherwise the structure and level of the fees payable as prescribed under schedule 1B remain the same.

    Making a claim

    The process is as detailed on No.1 above 'Making a claim'.

  • 4. Summary Criminal fees for COP26 related cases payable under Schedule 1 and 1A of the Criminal Fixed Payment Regulations

    COP26 related summary criminal fixed payment cases in the sheriff court  where a plea of not guilty has been made will be paid an enhanced core fee of £1,157.22, and the current trial rates will be paid at twice the current rates (i.e £216.30 for first day, etc,).   

    The payments are:

    • where a core fee is payable in terms of paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 or 1A of the Criminal Fixed Payment Regulations - £1,157.22
    • first day of trial, after 30 minutes - £216.30
    • second day of trial - £432.60
    • third and subsequent days of trial- £865.20
    • deferred sentences - £108.16 for the representation in court, per appearance, at a third and subsequent deferred sentence hearing, where the hearing relates to one or more than one complaint.

    Making a claim

    The process is as detailed on No.1 above 'Making a claim'.

  • 5. Non COP26 cases

    The following enhanced payments will also apply to non COP26-related cases where a solicitor represents an accused person whose first appearance is on a Saturday or Sunday during COP26. 

    The enhanced payment apply to any matter treated by Police Scotland or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as relating to a non COP26 offence (ie normal business) where there is an appearance in the COP26 weekend custody courts in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Hamilton, Paisley and Falkirk.

    These payments only apply to cases dealt with at the weekend court only, and do not continue to apply to cases which are continued to another weekday.

    The payments are:

    Nominated Solicitors

    • ABWOR cases provided by nominated or appointed solicitors, will be paid the enhanced core fee of £578.61. Any subsequent fees payable will be made in accordance with the prescribed fees in paragraphs 8, 8A, 9 and 10 of schedule 1B.

    To make a claim the process is as detailed on No.1 above 'Making a claim'.

    • For each Not Guilty plea made and for cases continued without plea, a payment of £68.14 will be paid.

    To make a claim a new claim form has been created for these and can be obtained on request by e-mailing: shawka@slab.org.uk

    • Cases which then proceed to a grant of summary criminal legal aid, will be paid the fees as prescribed in schedule 1 or 1A whichever applies.
  • 6. Other issues

    Interim Fees

    Provisions for interim fee payments are still in place and can be applied to all cases during the conference. You should follow the same process as that for submitting your main claim, as set out above.

    Existing Coronavirus Legislative Provision

    Coronavirus legislation allows for the solicitor to be paid the full court fee, rather than the half court fee, when the named solicitor has instructed the duty solicitor as a local agent to plead not guilty and has a pre-existing solicitor client relationship with the assisted person.

    This provision is still in effect and will also be applied throughout the conference period.

    Additional Travel

    During the COP26 Conference, some High Court cases have been moved from Glasgow to other locations. If this means you are now required to travel to the High Court in an area outwith your usual place of business, then travel can be claimed at the relevant prescribed rates and travel outlays in line with normal practice will also be recoverable.

For more information

Please contact:

Kingsley Thomas
Head of Criminal Legal Assistance
E: thomaski@slab.org.uk

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