Procedure and reasons for removal from normal account payment service standards

Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

The following list contains reasons why SLAB may consider removing a solicitor or firm from our normal 30-day service standards for payment.

The list is not exhaustive but provides general indicators of the type of issues which require more time spent on the assessment process.

  • Where concerns have been raised during the assessment processes of practices adopted by firms and files are required to review cases
  • Where a firm/solicitor is undertaking activities that are unsupported by third party checking
  • Firms repeatedly charging for items excluded by our guidance generating excessive correspondence on the same issues
  • Firms that have been sequestrated and require liaison with Trustees and Judicial Factors
  • Inappropriate use of unqualified staff
  • Where complaints are received from third parties of outlays not being settled by the firm but which have been paid by SLAB to the solicitor
  • Where there are on-going enquiries by Solicitor Investigations that require Accounts Assessment involvement
  • If there are concerns of legal aid abuse and/or fraud
  • Where the solicitor or advocate has been reported to a third party body such as the SLCC, SSDT or COPFS, where SLAB has invoked de-registration procedures or instigated a Section 31

Removal of firms from accounts service standards will firstly be considered by our Director of Corporate Services and Accounts who will, if appropriate, recommend the removal of a practitioner/firm from normal service standards. The decision for removal will then be referred to SLAB’s Executive Team for approval before notifying the firm.

A letter will be sent to the firm advising them of the reason(s) for removal from the 30 day payment standard. The accounts will be reviewed for an agreed period. The findings and recommendations will be reviewed internally to determine what further action is necessary. The firm/practitioner will be informed of the steps needed to restore payments to normal service standards.

The timescale for dealing with firms removed from 30 day payment will be dependent on the nature and the number of issues. The firm will be given an estimate of the time to deal with their cases.

For more information

Please contact Judith Cemery, Manager Accounts Assessment

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