Re Solicitor Advocates' Fees Note
Jun 19, 2020
1. The Auditor would like, for the avoidance of any future doubt, to clarify that he shares the view held by his predecessor as Auditor that fees claimed in respect of work carried out by Solicitor Advocates should be entered as outlays in judicial accounts of expenses. Such an approach, it seems to the Auditor, is consistent firstly with the distinct status and role of Solicitor Advocates as described, for example, in the Solicitors (Scotland) Rules of Conduct for Solicitor Advocates 2002 (see Rules 1(2), 3(1), 3(4) and 4(3)), and secondly with the Table of Fees Chapter III Part VIII, paragraph 1 of which requires the Auditor “to allow to a solicitor who exercises a right of audience by virtue of section 25A of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 such fee for each item of work done by the solicitor in the exercise of such right as he would allow to counsel for an equivalent item of work”.
2. As for vouching, it is not clear to the Auditor why it is said to be impossible to raise separate invoices for work carried out by Solicitor Advocates. Some Solicitor Advocates appear able to do so, and when a Solicitor Advocate in one firm is instructed by a solicitor in another firm, an invoice will presumably be raised and issued to the instructing firm.
3. In the light of the concerns which have been expressed on this issue, however, the Auditor does not consider that it is appropriate to insist on production of an invoice by way of vouching for a Solicitor Advocate’s fee.
4. Before he will allow an outlay in respect of work carried out by a Solicitor Advocate, however, the Auditor does require to see (1) a written instruction to the Solicitor Advocate from the instructing solicitor or evidence of an instruction direct from the client, and (2) either an invoice for the work (if one has been raised and issued) or a file entry or note detailing who carried out the work and what was done (unless that information is already disclosed in the relevant entry in the account of expenses). 15 September 2011