Legal aid news and updates

Legal aid news and updates November 2013

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 to Marina Sinclair-Chin.

Further detail can be found on SLAB's website.