Cost limits on grants of civil legal aid

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

All grants of civil legal aid where the application was lodged on or after 21 March 2013 are subject to a cost limit. We are seeing a steadily increasing number of accounts being submitted where a cost limit is in place.

If your account exceeds the cost limit approved by us we will abate your account and restrict it to the level of the cost limit in place.

We provided information about this in our earlier updates and the Civil Legal Assistance handbook provides information on how to obtain an increase in the cost limit.

The update explains that additional expenditure will only be granted if appropriate and proportionate to the issues involved in the dispute.

You should therefore carry out regular checks to make sure you have sufficient funding in place for all the work you are doing. We help with this when you submit an application for sanction for the employment of an expert and/or work involving unusually large expenditure. We will alert you to the need to request an uplift in the limit if it appears likely that the cost of the proposed work will exceed the limit in place.

However, not all post grant work will mean that a warning is issued. For example, sanction requests to employ counsel do not result in any warning so you cannot rely on this in isolation. You still need to keep an eye on your overall levels of expenditure to avoid any difficulties with payment of your account.

For more information:

Catriona Whyte, Head of Legal Services - Civil and Children’s, 0131 240 2088

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