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Legal aid online - sending supporting documentation


Introduction

The Legal Aid Online system allows you to send us supporting documentation as attachments to applications and accounts both electronically and by post.

This guidance is intended to help you send supporting documentation using the most effective methods.  

Please note: that how you submit documents to us can affect the time it takes to process your application or account.

To ensure no delay please submit Applications and Accounts in accordance with our guidance.


When to add attachments

You can add attachments at the following stages:

  • when you submit an application or account

  • when adding a work item to an account. Attachments can now be added at Work Items level. To add an attachment you select the paper clip icon

  • in response to any requests for further information

  • from the ‘View Case’ function.

 

How to add attachments

You have the option to attach electronic attachments or send paper documents using the bar code function. Where possible, our preferred choice is scanned documents attached to the application or account at work item level, and this is where you will gain the most benefits.

It is important to select the correct application type, account and document type. If you do not do this, it is likely to cause delays to processing your application or account as wrongly named documents could be overlooked.  

You can view a list of all documents sent electronically or on paper in the attachment tab on view case once you have uploaded these to your application. You cannot open the documents from the online system.

Attachments - general DOs and DON'Ts

DO

DON’T

Do send all scanned documents the correct way up and in the correct order.

Don’t fax supporting documents to us.

Do send digital photographs that are legible and not attached upside down or sideways -  we cannot alter, rotate or zoom in on the image and find these very difficult to deal with efficiently.1

Don’t send us a message when only confirming you have sent documents - either as electronic attachments or using the bar code.

Do take care to attach the correct document.

Don’t send in paper form documents already uploaded to SLAB.

Upload your document scanned as one attachment and not as individual pages uploaded as multiple documents

Don’t use a highlighter pen on any documents you are going to scan as the scanning process will show this as blacked out text and we will not be able to read it.

 

Don’t send documents with embedded files (such as emails with Word or PDF attachments). Save the attachment first and send that as a separate document.

1We receive many Digital Photographs attached to applications. While this is not our preferred format to receive documentation if you have no other choice we will accept them.

We restricted document types you can attach to avoid delays in processing your application or account because of documents being sent that we are not able to open. If you receive an error advising the document type is not valid you should save and attach this as a PDF file.

The list of valid document types is shown below:

  • Adobe Acrobat PDF
  • Word 2007 Document
  • Image
  • Word 2010 Document
  • Rich Text File
  • Text File
  • Spreadsheet
  • Open Office
  • Microsoft Works
  • Excel 2010 Spreadsheet
  • CSV
  • Outlook Message

 

Electronic attachments

You can send us documents electronically through Legal Aid Online that:

  • you have already created and stored on your system or
  • you have scanned and stored electronically on your system
  • are up to a maximum file size of 10 MB

When you are scanning your documents you should give the documents a meaningful file name when saving which will assist the assessment officer to identify the attachment, i.e. as well as naming the document, adding additional information such as names, dates, a/c numbers if relevant. This will also benefit you when querying attachments on view case.

You should try and scan multiple paged documents into one file. In cases where you have a scanner that only allows you to scan one page at a time, you should have the option to group these individual scanned images into one document by creating a PDF but if you are not sure how to do this you should use the barcode facility for lengthy documents as we will scan these in document batches which is easier for the staff here to work with.

 

Technical guidance on scanning documents

You may need to speak to your technical support to assist with this.

When you are scanning documents:

  • If possible save them as .pdf or failing that .tif files (most scanners will scan to pdf)
  • Set your scanner to scan in black and white and to a maximum of 300 dpi – this will save you time when you upload them to Legal Aid Online
  • Where possible have your scanner set up to scan to file rather than scan to email. This will allow you to scan and save the file to an area on your pc/systems which is quicker to retrieve and attach online than from an email
  • Scanners with a document feeder option are recommended as they allow you to scan batches of documents rather than individual pages.

 

Paper attachments

Not to be confused with the new account paper process for which you will require a registration document.

If you are unable to send documents electronically, Legal Aid Online has a facility to let you print a barcode, which you can attach to the paper documents and send to us. We will then scan these internally and match them electronically to the appropriate application or account. You are not required to attach a covering letter to the documents.

We cannot start assessing your case until we receive all attachments. Please wait until you have gathered all the paper documents before you send them with bar codes.

It is important to select the correct application type or account and select the document type when printing the bar code. If you don’t do this this may cause delays to processing your application/account and may lead to information being missed.

Do not send any paper attachments without a bar code.

Do not send original documents as we destroy them after scanning.

Only use the printed barcode for the case the supporting documents are relevant to and only use it once. You can always print a new barcode from ‘View Case’.

Ensure you attach the barcode sheet to the front of the documents before posting them.

 

Important– specific guidance for civil legal aid only

Whenever possible all documentation should be uploaded when submitting the full civil application. If you upload them later it delays the processing of the application and generates a letter to the applicant advising the application has been rejected pending receipt of information.

You should scan each document batch individually and select the relevant descriptions in the attachment screen e.g. ‘Applicant’s statement’. However, when sending verification which relates to the financial assessment of a Civil Application please ensure these are always uploaded to the Civ/Sol application and not any other application which may be under consideration such as Review, Amend etc. as these applications relate solely to our Merits department and information may be missed.

Verification should be uploaded using the correct description and in batches such as bank statements, payslips etc. not scanned in single pages. If you are sending a number of documents our preference would b be that these are uploaded in one folder in order of document type marked Means (Other) and you can then give details of the documents in the description box.

Scanning documents in batches will save time and resource.

Objections must be submitted on paper via the post. You should not upload objections via the applicant’s record. We are looking at enhancing this functionality online in the future.

When you submit the initial application, the system will give you the option to add electronic attachments (except Regulation 18 only applications). You should submit the application, and then add the attachments. Once you have uploaded all your attachments, you should click the ‘Complete Application’ button.

Once we have checked your submission and attachments, you will receive a notification which confirms the legal aid reference number and provides a link to an online notification advising the application is either under assessment or explaining what further information, if any, is required to allow the application to be processed. 


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