Guidance on information and documents to be seen prior to special urgency work


Thursday, Aug 25, 2016

In order for a solicitor to be paid for work undertaken under the Special Urgency provisions if the subsequent application for civil legal aid is refused, Regulation 18 (7) (a) of the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002 requires that SLAB must be satisfied that the solicitor “…had reasonable grounds for believing, on the information available at the time the work was done, that the applicant would be eligible for legal aid in terms of section 15 of the Act”.  This refers to the applicant’s financial eligibility.

We have produced guidance (Part IV section 6.1.1 in the Handbook) on how solicitors can demonstrate to SLAB that they were satisfied as to an applicant’s financial eligibility. We have consulted with the Law Society of Scotland in the production of this guidance.

SLAB staff will now use the guidance to decide if we can consider SU accounts submitted for payment when the legal aid application has been refused.

We are currently developing improvements to our system for the submission of online accounts which will allow you to record the steps you have taken to satisfy yourself as to the applicant’s financial eligibility. We will send a further update about that in the next few months. Until then please retain in your file a record of the steps you have taken.

If you have any queries about the guidance please contact Joe Kelly, Head of Civil and Children’s Legal Assistance, by email at kellyjo@slab.org.uk or by telephone on 0131 240 2031.

 


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