Streamlined interim payment procedures to be introduced 1 October for solicitors’ fees

This update provides details of permanent provisions to be introduced on 1 October 2022 to streamline payment procedures for interim fees in respect of work done.

It sets out:

Background to changes

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the first nationwide lockdown we developed an initial four point plan to support lawyers who were adapting and coping with seismic shifts in the operation of the justice system and the running of their businesses, all in the face of huge financial uncertainty.

At that time the priority was to make changes to our systems as quickly as possible that allowed for earlier and more frequent payments to be made across nearly all account types so that solicitors had the ability to make ‘interim claims’ for fees in respect of work done.

This resulted in hybrid systems being implemented and depending on the type of legal aid or advice and assistance that was being provided interim claims could be made on either of the following basis:

  • a ‘pay now check later’ basis where you only had to provide details of the value of the fees that have been properly incurred to date and payment was made based on that estimate; or
  • a full account required to be submitted in support of the fees claimed and an assessment was then made as to the sum payable.

Permanent provisions to be introduced

These hybrid arrangements were temporary arrangements until more permanent provisions could be introduced. Those permanent arrangements are now made as a consequence of Section 35 of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Act 2022 which comes into effect on 1 October 2022.

There will be a single legal framework put in place by making amendments to the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986, and introducing new sections 33ZB and 33ZC of the Act.

Legal aid guidance on new procedures

Claims submitted on or after the 1 October 2022 must be submitted online using the procedures as outlined below.

These changes have allowed us to introduce more streamlined and consistent procedures for making interim claims for almost all types of account.

We have prepared the following legal aid guidance. While it is applicable across all aid types it is included in each set of guidance:

For more information about this update

Please contact Lynne Dunlop, Accounts Technical Support


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