Legal aid news and updates

Legal aid news and updates September 2013

Taxation decisions

The Society will soon be publishing on its website a collection of taxation decisions in relation to legal aid cases across Scotland. It is hoped that this will provide solicitors with an easy method of sharing information and gaining a better picture of trends in taxations throughout the country.

If you have any decisions which you think would be useful for other practitioners, please send a copy of the decision together with any other relevant information to Marina Sinclair-Chin.

Dean's ruling on appearance of counsel without an agent

The Dean of Faculty has issued a ruling confirming that in civil proceedings before any court or tribunal there is nothing to prevent a properly instructed counsel appearing without an instructing agent.

The ruling has prompted guidance to be issued by SLAB

SLAB's guidance suggests that it is for the solicitor to decide whether or not  to exercise the option now available in terms of the Dean's ruling, where counsel will likewise be content to dispense with the attendance of the instructing agent at the hearing. The Society understands that the faculty is supportive of this view.

The Dean's ruling will have an impact on legal aid solicitors who will need to be able to confirm why attendance with counsel was required. It will also have an impact on solicitors acting in privately funded cases who may have to justify costs to their client.

The Society welcomes views from all civil practitioners on this ruling and on the SLAB guidance in advance of the Society's discussions with SLAB and the faculty.

Please send your views by 31 October to Marina Sinclair-Chin.

Further detail can be found on SLAB's website.