The regulations require that you obtain prior approval for the employment of experts. You can find our detailed guidance in Part 4 Chapter 7.32 of the Civil Handbook.
You should bear in mind that you may be using professionals for purposes not falling within the definition of expert opinion evidence.
Please select a profession from the drop down tool below for a quick reference guide on when sanction is required for a particular type of activity being commissioned by you from a professional.
You can apply for sanction for someone acting as an expert via Legal Aid Online.
The information we need is:
For example: if an instruction requests an assessment of cognitive functioning or intelligence which the expert accepts and then the report fails to include any information about recognised tests or assessment of the requested issues we may restrict or abate the outlay entirely.
Specifying your requirements:
Specifying SLAB policy on what can be paid for and how to invoice you:
Giving the professional appropriate information about the legal aid for the case:
We recognise that some experts are refusing to agree to appear to give evidence unless a cancellation fee is agreed to cover the eventuality of the case being settled or adjourned.
Here are some ways you can manage this risk:
If cancellation does occur:
Where making a claim for reimbursement for a reporter/curator please ensure that the interlocutor is attached to the claim. This will prevent delays from arising where we need to establish the remit of the reporter/curator.
Please note that there is no provision for making a reimbursement of outlays under advice and assistance where there is a prospect of a recovery. The hierarchy of payments set out in Section 12(3) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 means there can be no reimbursement of outlays under advice and assistance where there is a prospect of a recovery. We recognise that you then have to ‘carry’ those outlays until either the matter concludes or progresses to a grant of civil legal aid. However, there is nothing we can do about this within the current terms of the Act.
You can apply for a reimbursement of outlays in any case where there is no prospect of any recovery or preservation subject to the following conditions:
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.