Guidelines for Grants for Legal Aid

ASTI Rule 158 provides that “grants on account of legal expenses incurred by members arising out of or in connection with their professional duties” may be paid from the General Fund in accordance with the provisions of Rules 178 to 181.

These Rules provide that, before a member takes any steps (other than entering a notice of appeal), a member must submit the request for a grant in writing to the General Secretary. Standing Committee (or CEC) may refuse a grant or allow portion of a grant or state the maximum sum which will be made available.

Each application for a grant for legal aid will be assessed on its own merits and in its own circumstances. The increasing number of applications for grants for legal aid, however, requires that there must be some measure of standardised response which also takes into account the broader interests of the Association.

Guidelines are issued to members to help to ensure that there is consistency of approach and clarity with regard to the degree of support which may be available to individual members.

The following general principles apply:

  1. Insofar as possible, the advice and assistance will be provided through the ASTI solicitors.
  2. In principle, Standing Committee will follow the advice of the ASTI legal advisors in deciding whether or not to support an action or to continue to support an action.
  3. A grant will not normally be approved by Standing Committee where the issue could be addressed through the agreed industrial relations procedures and the provisions of the procedures have not been exhausted.
  4. An initial grant for legal aid will cover the cost of a consultation with the solicitors and any consequent correspondence.  The member concerned will be accompanied and assisted by an ASTI representative. The initial grant may also cover the cost of a barrister’s advice, if required.
  5. A further application for a grant will be required for legal representation in a court or other quasi legal forum. 
  6. Such legal aid grant is provided to cover the legal costs of the member who made the application only. 
  7. A further application will be required if a grant is required to cover the legal costs of a third party. 
  8. In the case of legal proceedings, a specific cash limit will be set on the grant to be paid.  This limit may not cover the member’s full costs in the proceedings but will not exceed, except in exceptional circumstances, the member’s costs in the proceedings, based on estimates provided by the legal advisors.  The limit may only be exceeded by obtaining further specific approval. 
  9. The ASTI will not pay a grant to cover the costs of any damages awarded against a member. 
  10. The ASTI may only pay the legal costs involved in an agreed settlement of a case. 
  11. Except in cases of emergency, requests for legal grants should be forwarded to the General Secretary at least five days prior to the meeting of Standing Committee for which it is relevant.

These guidelines were adopted by Standing Committee at its meeting on 19th October, 2001.