Legal aid contracts: instruct third parties

Your responsibilities if you instruct third parties - as set out in legal aid contract standard terms documents.


If you work with third parties to provide legal aid services you must fulfil certain obligations. These are set out in Legal Aid Agency (LAA) standard terms documents:

If you’re a third party with a query about payment please contact the legal aid provider who instructed you.

Your responsibilities

Your responsibilities include supervision of the work of third parties and together you must keep accurate time records. Third party work cannot increase costs to the Legal Aid Agency. Arrangements with third parties should not affect your delivery of work as agreed in the contract.

The LAA may ask you to end an agreement with a third party if certain terms of the contract are breached.

LAA criteria

The LAA may specify certain criteria that you need to apply to instructions to third parties, eg required qualifications or accreditation.


The LAA may specify maximum rates of pay to third parties under the terms of the contract.

You need to be clear with third parties that you’re responsible for paying them for their work.

Time recording

If you agree to pay the third party a fee of £250 or more for their work on a specific matter or case you must ask them to keep accurate records of time spent.

Consortium members

If you are a consortium member this will be specified in your schedule. See a sample schedule.

For further information on consortia read section 3.11 in the standard terms documents.

Using expert witnesses

You’ll find guidance along with information on court rules, protocols and procedures to help when working with expert witnesses.

Published 1 June 2014