The changes comes after the Ministry of Justice reviewed its policy
The Ministry of Justice has announced that witness costs in legal aid matters will no longer be pre-approved.
Before the change, which went into effect on Monday, witness fees and costs were classified as pre-approved disbursements.
The Ministry of Justice said that it has conducted a review in the area and has revised legal aid policy. The change was made because “there is no statutory requirement for them to be paid by legal aid,” it said.
The pre-approved disbursement will not appear in grants schedules for applications received from 22 July. The pre-approved disbursement will continue to appear in the grants schedules in applications received before the date, but will not be available to claim, the ministry said.
The ministry said that invoice forms will be updated by the next release of Word templates. It said that those submitting an amendment to grant to cover witness costs should ensure that the amendment identifies the exceptional circumstances that require the costs to be paid by legal aid.
It said that expert witness travel is not affected and still requires prior approval.