Approving Counsel Fees
The use of Counsel is strictly subject to the prior approval of Legal Services. Counsel may be authorised either as part of the grant of a legal aid certificate or by way of amendment to the original certificate.
A claim by Counsel for fees should not be accepted unless it is made on the appropriate claim form.
On receipt of a claim for payment by Counsel, a solicitor should check that:-
- The services were authorised in advance on a legal aid certificate.
- The claim has been made on the correct form with all appropriate sections being fully completed.
- Full information about the services provided has been declared.
- The information declared on the form accurately reflects the services which were provided by Counsel.
If the solicitor is satisfied that the claim is in order, they should sign and date the form and forward it, together with a copy of the legal aid certificate (or amended certificate as appropriate) to Legal Services. Claims that are not in order should be returned to the Barrister concerned along with an explanation as to the reason the claim was not processed. Under no circumstances should a claim be certified if the fees claimed are not properly payable.