Guidance on Special Urgency and successful appeals before the Sheriff Appeal Court and Court of Session

Thursday, Oct 06, 2016

We have inserted some additional guidance in the Children’s Legal Assistance Handbook for proceedings under the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 because:

  • Some practitioners have asked us for a further explanation as to why we continue or refuse a number of special urgency applications instead of granting them all as a matter of course where urgency is shown.
  • There has also been a recent successful S613 Appeal before the Court of Session, soon to be reported, which has been remitted back to a sheriff for disposal. This disposal hearing raised various questions by the instructing agents regarding legal aid and sanction cover and accordingly we have now outlined the position in the Handbook.

We hope that this additional guidance will provide greater clarity about what can be paid for from the Legal Aid Fund and help you to receive payment for the work you carry out in appropriate circumstances.

Special Urgency

The first additional guidance can be found at Part III Chapter 5 concerning Special Urgency.

In this amended guidance we explain:

  • The statutory tests that are laid down in the Regulations that require to be met before we can grant special urgency.
  • Why we will not grant the special urgency application if the urgency has been self-created by the solicitor or the applicant and what information we require to see in an application to avoid continuations or refusals.
  • That where we have granted special urgency for the conduct of a court hearing this will include all associated and reasonable travel costs.

Successful Appeal – remit to sheriff for disposal

The second additional guidance can be found at Part III Chapter 6 paragraph 6.15.

Here we advise that in a successful appeal before the Sheriff Appeal Court or Court of Session which is remitted back to the sheriff, the original legal aid certificate relating to the proceedings appealed still stands but sanction for the continued involvement of counsel will require to be re-applied for.

The final additional guidance can be found at Part III Chapter 4 paragraph 4.43.

This reiterates that sanction for the continued involvement of counsel in any disposal hearing before the sheriff will require to be re-applied for.

More information

If you have any queries about the guidance please contact Joe Kelly, Head of Civil Legal Assistance,


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