Trial extension to arrangements for interim payment of solemn criminal legal aid fees


Monday, Jan 25, 2016

Interim payments in solemn criminal cases is currently limited to those cases where the trial exceeds 20 days. This only applies to a very small number of cases.

Following discussions with the Scottish Government we are now able to put in place an extended interim payment arrangement for a trial period up to and including 17 March 2016. Subject to the success of the pilot we may well extend the trial period. During this time we will accept interim accounts for payment of solicitor fees in solemn criminal proceedings, in which:

  • 12 months or more has elapsed since the grant of solemn criminal legal aid ; or
  • a trial diet has been set for a date at least 6 months from the First Diet or Preliminary Hearing; or
  • where the trial has been adjourned for a period of 6 months or more; or
  • the fees properly incurred exceed £10,000.

In such cases, if you submit a valid interim payment claim the current service standard for payment will apply and payments will be processed within 20 working days of receipt.

ELIGIBILITY FOR INTERIM PAYMENT OF FEES

  1. There must be a valid grant of solemn legal aid at the date of the claim.
  2. The proceedings must not be concluded.
  3. The claim must be accompanied by a fully itemised account and be submitted by the nominated solicitor. All claims should be submitted using the revised form SLA/ROL/6

We shall assess the account and, to allow for future reassessment on submission of the final account, we shall authorise payment of 75 per cent of the fees eligible for payment and earned during the period covered by the claim.

Interim payment is not acceptance that each entry paid is a valid charge under the criminal legal aid certificate. If, at the final accounting stage, it is subsequently determined that any part of the interim fee is not properly allowable the solicitor will be required to make any necessary repayment to the Legal Aid Fund.

The final criminal account must contain all work items, including those already included in any interim payment claim. The interim account will not be considered by us to be your final account for the period covered.

For more information:
Please contact the accounts specialists Alan Spence on spenceal@slab.org.uk or 0131 240 1921, Billy Smith on smithwi@slab.org.uk or 0131 226 7061 ext. 317 or Iain Baptie on baptieia@slab.org.uk or 0131 240 2059.
 


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