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A CHANGE to legal rules this month will reduce the fees clients who are represented in civil actions in Scotland have to pay.

Until now, in any case where an advocate was involved – which meant all Court of Session cases, and some Sheriff Court cases – the client had to meet the bill for his solicitor’s time in court, as well as the advocate’s time.

From September 24th, however the rule insisting on the instructing solicitor being present during the case has been relaxed. This means the instructing solicitor does not have to be in court for the duration of the case, which will reduce the legal bill for clients.

The move was introduced by Richard Keen QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and sanctioned by the head of Scotland’s judges and sheriffs, the Lord President, Lord Gill.

Only in Civil Cases, Not Criminal

However, it will only apply in civil cases, such as family law actions and commercial disputes, and will not apply to criminal cases.

Mr Keen said: “This rule developed long before modern means of communication, and proceeds on the view that the client’s solicitor should always be present in case any issue should arise which required immediate instructions. “I am satisfied that an absolute rule requiring the presence of a solicitor in all cases is no longer justified. There will be hearings which an advocate can conduct without the solicitor being present in court, provided the solicitor has given adequate instructions in advance to the advocate.”

“However, there will continue to be hearings where the presence of the solicitor or a member of the solicitor’s staff will be necessary, for sound practical reasons, or because the nature of the issues to be dealt with make that appropriate.”

Contact our Civil Court Solicitors in Glasgow

*The Glasgow Law Practice advise clients in civil cases in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session. Call 0141 552 9193 for a free, no obligation call back.