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CLA – Disclosure

What is a Criminal Legal Aid (Disclosure) Claim?

It’s a procedure used in criminal cases where the accused in on legal aid and where the case involves large volumes of disclosure.

As of June 2021 criminal defence lawyers in Ireland can claim remuneration under the criminal legal aid scheme for the time spent reviewing disclosure.

How is a Criminal Legal Aid (Disclosure) Claim made?

The claim process is pretty cumbersome. It consists of two stages:

Step 1: Application for Prior Sanction

The instructing solicitor must submit an application on behalf of all members of the defence team, containing the following information:

  1. Names and role of each member of the team expected to review disclosure;
  2. Full details of the type and volume of disclosure;
  3. Estimate of the total number of hours required by each member;
  4. Identify what material will be reviewed and by whom;
  5. Confirmation that legal aid has been granted for the counsel involved;
  6. Copy of the Legal Aid Certificate.

The form must be signed by the instructing solicitor and must be sent by e-mail, together with supporting documentation, to a specified e-mail address.

Step 2: Application for Payment

The instructing solicitor must submit this application on behalf of all members of the defence team.

Each member of the defence team must send the instructing solicitor an invoice detailing:

  1. What has been reviewed;
  2. The number of hours for each item reviewed;
  3. Total number of hours.

The instructing solicitor must complete the payment application form and submit it with the above documentation, together with a copy of the application form for prior sanction.

How does smartlegal help with Criminal Legal Aid (Disclosure) Claims?

The application process is quite an additional administrative burden to place on the instructing solicitor – not just a matter of form filling but also of chasing counsel for invoices. It is likely that there would also be administrative time spent (i) assessing the type and volume of disclosure, (ii) determining who is going to review what, and (iii) estimating the time that will be taken to review.

We’ve built a simple form that quickly collects the required information and can instantly deliver a completed document bundle to the instructing solicitor (and offers an option to instantly send a signed copy to the Criminal Legal Aid Unit).

When the time comes to claim payment, no further inputs are required. The system automatically generates pre-populated invoices on behalf of each member of the legal team, together with a completed payment application form.

Can I use smartlegal for my Criminal Legal Aid (Disclosure) Claims?

Almost! 😊

We’ve built out the form, which you can access below.

We haven’t (yet) built the back end, which will consist of a set of automated documents that can be sent to the solicitor (and directly to the Crimina Legal Aid Unit, if requested).

We’ll build the back end when we have sufficient interest. To register your interest, just click through the form (you can leave the fields blank) and enter your e-mail address on the final page, click ‘Submit’, and you’re done.

Getting Started

The CLA Automation is an online form which you can access below, but it’s only half built for now.

We haven’t (yet) built the back end, which will consist of a set of automated documents that can be sent to the solicitor (and directly to the Criminal Legal Aid Unit, if requested).

We’ll build the back end when we have sufficient interest.

To register your interest, just click through the form (you can leave the fields blank) and enter your e-mail address on the final page, click ‘Submit’, and you’re done.

Click on the button below to proceed to the CLA Automation.

Case Studies

Check out these client stories.