Fees and expenses
You must seek the approval of Legal Services when engaging witnesses before you engage them. This is done by
- making a Submission for Authority at advice stage
- including a request for additional authority when making a Submission for a Legal Aid Certificate
- making a Submission for an Amended Legal Aid Certificate at aid stage.
When making the application you should tell Legal Services what fees you expect to have to pay. (Decision makers should ask this if the solicitor doesn’t state it in their application).
The decision will be taken in accordance with the guidelines on decision making in Part 5. If granted, Legal Services will convey authority in writing, issue the certificate, or issue an amended certificate. The authority or certificate will specify the maximum fee payable. Its important to note that the amount authorised is a maximum. You are under an obligation to get the best value for the taxpayer (while at the same time doing what is best for your client). There is no obligation to spend every penny of the amount authorised. Either way you cannot spend in excess of what was authorised. When the witness’ bill is presented we will not pay in excess of what was authorised. Nor will we pay any fees for a witness who was not authorised in the first place – retrospective approval is never granted.
Legal Services cannot authorise payment in excess of the rates in Appendix A. These rates have been sanctioned by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
This applies to all witnesses, including lawyers in foreign jurisdictions from whom affidavits of laws are sought.