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Guidance published by LSC on prior authority for experts in family cases

Prior authority not necessary for drug and alcohol tests

New guidance has been published online by the Legal Services Commission to help providers identify when they need to apply for prior authorities for experts in family cases. The gudance is accessible here.

It follows work with representative bodies to assist providers in identifying when to submit an application for prior authority and when it is not necessary to do so.

The LSC's Standard Civil Contract states that there is a contractual right to seek or obtain prior authority only where:

The guidance includes:

The guidance also confirms that prior authority is not necessary in relation to drug and alcohol tests – provided that the tests carried out reflect what has been directed in a court order.

'Typical' hours outlined in the guidance are not caps. They are intended to help providers make case-by-case assessments about when they can submit prior authority applications.

Prior authority itself is not a limit on the number of hours that may be carried out by an expert.

Additional expert work hours may be justified on assessment, at the end of the case, to the relevant assessing authority. This may be either the LSC or the court.

The guidance can be read here.