17 November 2022
We have published the next release of policies, decision-makers’ guidance (DMG) and new or revised legal aid guidance (LAG) for solicitors on Civil, Children’s and Criminal applications.
They give details about what information we need to consider a request for prior approval and how we make our decision.
We made changes in some areas to reduce the steps you have to take. We reduced the instances where you need to apply for prior approval and raised the limit beyond which you need approval for unusually large expenditure from £2,000 to £3,000 in civil and children’s legal aid.
The publication is part of a release programme through our Guidance on the Administration of Legal Aid (GALA) project.
This update provides information on prior approval applications for the following aid types:
The new policy statements and DMG are available for the following children’s applications subject matters:
We have used the GALA process as an opportunity to review situations where our guidance is not consistent across the aid types. We are making changes to achieve consistency and transparency wherever this is possible and appropriate.
As part of this work we have made some changes to our children’s guidance to bring it into line with the approach we take to prior approvals in other aid types. This will reduce the instances where you need to apply for prior approval in the following situations:
From the point we grant prior approval for counsel to conduct a proof or appeal under children’s legal aid, then counsel can take the following steps without the need for you to ask for further prior approval. This continues up to the conclusion of the proof or appeal.
Prior approval is no longer required for a specification of documents to recover evidence in children’s proceedings where a grant of children’s legal aid is in place. Prior approval is only needed where you want to proceed to a commission without first going through the procedures available to allow the documents to be voluntarily produced by the haver following service of the interlocutor authorising their disclosure.
We have raised the limit beyond which you need approval for unusually large expenditure from £2,000 to £3,000.
The new policy statements and DMG are available for the following civil applications subject matters:
We are currently working on our policy for prior and retrospective approval for the employment of counsel.
We are also carrying out further work around our policy on prior approval for unusual work following our consultation.
More information will be available on these decision sets in due course.
The new policy statements and DMG are available for the following criminal applications aid types in:
The new policy statements and DMG are available for the following criminal applications subject matters:
There are two areas where prior approval for unusual work is no longer required:
Prior approval is no longer required for conducting a precognition on oath where a grant of criminal legal aid is in place.
Prior approval is no longer required for attendance of a second solicitor where evidence is being taken on commission at a SCTS remote site.
18 January 2024
Following solicitor feedback we have introduced a simplified application process for legal aid applications for a Guardianship order under one of five sections