The most common sanction requests at the pre-legal aid stage are in family cases where at a child welfare hearing the court has ordered the parties to attend mediation, or where the court has ordered supervised contact to take place. We also regularly receive requests for sanction for unusually large expenditure when child welfare reports which are to cost over £3000 have been ordered by the court. However, we can consider any sanction request so long as you give an explanation to show that the work needs to be done in conjunction with urgent work which we have approved.
In general, once decree is granted, then cover under a grant of legal aid comes to an end. However, where decree has been granted in a case where clawback will occur i.e, where a capital/principal sum and/ or expenses have been awarded to the assisted person, and you are looking to take enforcement action to obtain payment of the sums due, you can ask for our authority to undertake diligence to help you enforce the order.
This guidance does not apply to diligence on certain alimentary orders. Please go to Part 4 Chapter 7.61 of the Civil Handbook to find out whether sanction is needed, as in some cases it is not required.
The steps you may want to undertake could include an earnings arrestment, bank arrestment, attachment orders etc.:
If you need to get an up to date valuation of the property in the action we are happy for you to take the value from an internet search of a similar property in the same neighbourhood.
If this is not possible and you need to carry out a formal valuation of the property you will need to obtain our prior sanction and you should ensure that your client is aware that this may increase their liability to us.
It is important that you get sanction before you instruct the work, as this is the best way to help avoid problems when you seek payment.
It is worth remembering that you might also need to look at your case cost limit when you are seeking sanction.
A grant of sanction will use up some of your case costs, and you may need an increase as a result.
When we grant sanction, we give an indication to you that in the event that you proceed to instruct the work anticipated, and subject to certain important provisos, we will make payment.
The provisos include that
These are all things that you will need to satisfy us about at the time when we assess the account and its component parts (which include, say, any report charges from a professional acting as expert) for payment. If satisfied, we will make payment of the relevant charges.
It is important to understand that the cost limit intimated with a grant of sanction is not an agreed price, or that the cost limit will be the amount paid. The cost limit is simply that – a maximum figure beyond which we cannot make payment.
What is actually paid, other than in circumstances where the work has proceeded throughout on a “fixed price” basis, is the amount determined as reasonable under reference to the estimate given pre sanction, and a breakdown of the work undertaken, upon completion.