In recent months we have noticed an increase in the incorrect use of category codes in applications for legal aid relating to orders under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.
The category code you use determines whether or not your application undergoes a financial assessment.
If the wrong code is used it can cause delay while we amend the application manually. It can also cause upset to applicants who receive letters asking for financial information, when they have been given the impression that means testing will not apply.
We have improved our guidance, to set out clearly which category code is applicable.
If you use category code AISAW it is likely that there will be no financial assessment. If you use AISA, a financial assessment is likely to be needed.
Please note, we will shortly be updating the category code descriptions for AISA and AISAW in the drop-down menus on Legal Aid Online (LAOL). These will make it clear whether or not a financial eligibility test is appropriate.
We have found that increasingly more complex scenarios are arising in these cases, particularly where a guardianship is already in place, and changes are needed.
Occasionally a range of orders will be sought, some of which do not normally have a financial assessment if sought as stand-alone orders, and some of which do.
In these circumstances, it can be more difficult for us to work out how to apply our regulations, and to decide whether or not a financial assessment is appropriate.
If your case does not fit exactly into any of the scenarios set out in the guidance, we recommend that you contact us by email before applying.
So that we can advise you how to proceed you should give us details of:
It would be helpful if you could do this as early as possible, as we may not be able to give a decision immediately.