Children’s Hearings duty plans

How to register

Firms can apply for the 2019/20 Children’s Duty Scheme in one of two ways:

  • You can print out the application form and post it back to us
  • You can complete this digital application form and email it to us at Childrensregister@slab.org.uk. Please use your Law Society smartcard to sign the form and attach a PDF copy of each solicitor’s practicing certificate to your email. These can be obtained from the member’s area of the Law Society’s website.
    • If you would like to include more than six solicitors in your application please include them on this additional form.

You must also meet the eligibility criteria for the duty scheme.

Please contact Margaret Russell, Deputy Team Leader, Children’s Legal Assistance, on 0131 240 2690 or by email if you have any questions.

Guidance and eligibility criteria

To be accepted onto the duty plan, the firm and each named solicitor on the application must be registered on the Children’s Legal Assistance Register. Applications both to register and for the duty scheme can be submitted at the same time.

  • How the duty scheme operates

    The duty plans usually run for a 12 month period. Allocations across the various plans depend on the number of eligible, registered solicitors who apply and meet the necessary criteria for the scheme. In the event of over subscription for any one area allocations may be made on a “first come, first served” basis.

    The plan for each geographic area (by hearing centre area) runs from Monday to Sunday. Each qualifying firm will be allocated, so far as possible, an equal share of the available cover with the actual allocation depending on the number of firms registered in that area and availability to undertake the responsibilities.

    Plans will be allocated in blocks of one week unless otherwise necessitated by local circumstances. All plans are published on our website and distributed to relevant Reporters by local authority area.

    It should be noted for duty plan purposes that supplementary locations out with the main centre location can be used from time to time. All supplementary locations will be broadly within the same geographic area as the main hearing centre.

  • Eligibility criteria

    We can only be accept applications from firms and sole practitioners. Each application must specify by name the solicitor(s) who will fulfil the firm’s duty plan obligations.

    All solicitors named by the firm to provide cover must be PVG registered and have us as a registered body on their record. They must also hold a practicing certificate with no restriction in relation to legal aid, as at the closing date for applications, affecting their entitlement to provide children’s legal assistance. In addition all solicitors to be included on the duty plan must be accepted and registered on the Children’s Legal Assistance Register.

    At the time of applying for inclusion your firm should either have a place of business within the hearing centre area or conduct the majority of their business within that area. This requirement can be disregarded where necessitated by local circumstances. Any such decision will be taken by us and consider the available resources and the circumstances applying to the area.

    Your firm can be included on plans for more than one hearing centre area provided the travel time from the firm to each centre is reasonable. As an example a branch based in Ayr could apply to be included on the plans for both Ayr and Stranraer but it would not be permissible for that same firm to apply to be on the plan for Aberdeen.

    Applications for inclusion on the plans received after the closing date will be accepted on a “back-up” basis only.

  • Your responsibilities

    As duty solicitor you must:

    • Ensure that your firm has the correct professional indemnity insurance in place, as required by the Law Society of Scotland.
    • Give priority to the performance of the services you are obliged to carry out under the duty scheme.
    • Attend and provide representation at any specified court or children’s hearings when required to do so. This includes providing such representation as may be necessary even where court or children’s hearings papers are not ready all in fulfilment of your obligations as duty solicitor.

    Depending on the particular circumstances in any case either us or the Reporter will contact the duty firm to give details of the case. Your obligation is to accept responsibility for acting in such cases.

    You must notify us immediately if your firm as a whole cannot fulfil its obligations in terms of the plan. It is your firm’s responsibility to fulfil all duty plan obligations and to ensure that representation is provided where required.

    If you fail to fulfil any duties under the duty scheme without making provision for another solicitor to attend, you may be considered unsuitable for inclusion in future duty plans.

    In addition, we may consider removing you from the Children’s Legal Assistance Register. Any other firm that, in these circumstances, is required to substitute for the duty plan firm is deemed to be acting as duty solicitor for the purposes of the plan.

  • Payment

    Claims for payment for automatic legal aid work carried out under the duty scheme are submitted on a time and line (detailed) basis in accordance with payments made in advice and assistance and ABWOR.

  • Withdrawing from the scheme

    You must give a minimum of one month’s notice to us if you wish to withdraw from the plan for any reason and you must undertake the duties you have previously agreed to carry out.

    If you move to another firm either in the existing hearing centre area or in another area you may participate in their new firm’s duty scheme obligations. To do this you must submit the appropriate application forms to us.

    You should notify us if your firm ceases to exist to allow the relevant area plan to be updated and re-issued.

Duty plans

Glasgow & Strathkelvin

File Type Size Date
GLASGOW 212 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 212 KB 3 October 2019

Grampian, Highlands and Islands

File Type Size Date
ABERDEEN 171 KB | 20 August 2019 PDF 171 KB 20 August 2019
LERWICK 174 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 174 KB 1 October 2019
KIRKWALL 175 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 175 KB 1 October 2019
INVERNESS 185 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 185 KB 1 October 2019
ELGIN 184 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 184 KB 1 October 2019
STORNOWAY 178 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 178 KB 1 October 2019
THURSO 170 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 170 KB 1 October 2019

Lothian & Borders

File Type Size Date
EDINBURGH 178 KB | 30 August 2019 PDF 178 KB 30 August 2019
SELKIRK 183 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 183 KB 3 October 2019
TRANENT 185 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 185 KB 3 October 2019
DALKEITH 187 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 187 KB 3 October 2019

North Strathclyde

File Type Size Date
PAISLEY 89 KB | 20 August 2019 PDF 89 KB 20 August 2019
DUMBARTON 172 KB | 20 August 2019 PDF 172 KB 20 August 2019
GREENOCK 196 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 196 KB 3 October 2019
LOCHGILPHEAD 185 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 185 KB 3 October 2019

South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway

File Type Size Date
HAMILTON 170 KB | 20 August 2019 PDF 170 KB 20 August 2019
EAST KILBRIDE 202 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 202 KB 3 October 2019
AYR 196 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 196 KB 3 October 2019
DUMFRIES 181 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 181 KB 3 October 2019
CUMBERNAULD 198 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 198 KB 3 October 2019
BELLSHILL 203 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 203 KB 3 October 2019
KILMARNOCK 202 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 202 KB 3 October 2019
IRVINE 196 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 196 KB 3 October 2019
STRANRAER 183 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 183 KB 3 October 2019

Tayside, Central & Fife

File Type Size Date
DUNDEE 179 KB | 30 August 2019 PDF 179 KB 30 August 2019
GLENROTHES 167 KB | 1 October 2019 PDF 167 KB 1 October 2019
ALLOA 190 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 190 KB 3 October 2019
FALKIRK 204 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 204 KB 3 October 2019
ARBROATH 197 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 197 KB 3 October 2019
LIVINGSTON 202 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 202 KB 3 October 2019
PERTH 197 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 197 KB 3 October 2019
STIRLING 203 KB | 3 October 2019 PDF 203 KB 3 October 2019