Legal Aid was set up to provide access to justice for those who cannot afford to pay for it. This helps the justice system operate fairly. Legal Aid is managed by the Scottish Legal Aid board. The budget for legal aid is different from most public services in that the Scottish Government will give SLAB all the funds necessary to meet the cost of cases with no limits.
Who can get Legal Aid?
Eligibility depends on the type of case you are involved in and your financial situation. Legal Aid is provided for criminal cases, children’s hearings, some types of civil cases (E.g. housing cases, parental dispute cases, divorces) and for ‘advice and assistance’, which is a scheme allowing low-income people access to legal advice. In some cases, legal aid is available automatically. Otherwise, you will have to show you are financially eligible, however, in some cases it is also available even if a person is working and earning a good salary. To determine eligibility, in most cases, SLAB will apply a means test known as the ‘undue hardship test’. This is where a full financial diagnostic is done on the applicant, and looks closely at income and outgoings, as well as the value of non-essential items such as caravans or boats. The board can then determine for each individual if paying for legal advice would cause undue hardship. SLAB can also decide that you pay for some of the legal fees yourself.
Legal Aid: Advice & Assistance Scheme
The Advice and Assistance Scheme allows people on low incomes to receive funding to pay for legal advice for matters such as:
- Wills and Executry
- Power of Attorney
- Housing issues
- Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
- Civil Partnership
Legal Aid for ABWOR
Advice and assistance by way of representation (ABWOR) are where you require advice after being taken into custody, and in some cases, representation in court. You will receive a contribution towards legal advice for ABWOR depending on your income level. Speak to us about your eligibility for Legal Aid for ABWOR. Call us now on 01413362020.
Criminal Legal Aid
Criminal Legal Aid is available when you plead not guilty, or in serious cases when you appear in court. Where you are eligible for Legal Aid, you do not need to pay anything towards a solicitor, unlike ABWOR where you may have to make a contribution depending on your income. We can check your eligibility for Legal Aid – speak to us today – call us now on 01413362020 or contact us via our online contact form.
Legal Aid for Summary Cases
If it is ‘in the interests of justice’ to be represented by a solicitor, you can receive legal aid for summary cases provided you are financially eligible.
Legal Aid for serious cases
You are automatically entitled to Legal Aid if you are the accused in a solemn case (a case heard by a judge and jury) until there is a decision made about your entitlement to legal aid, or you are offered bail. SLAB will make a decision on your entitlement to Legal Aid based on whether it will place undue hardship on the accused or their dependents.
Legal Aid for Children’s Hearings
You may be able to get Legal Aid if you are a child, parent or someone else involved in the child’s care if you are financially eligible. Speak to one of our team today to discuss your eligibility. Call us now on 01413362020 or contact us via our online contact form.
Legal Aid for Civil Cases
Legal Aid is available for certain types of civil cases. An assessment is made for Civil Legal Aid based on financial matters and the applicant’s property.
The following are the types of cases that would qualify for Legal Aid in Scotland:
- Matters affecting children
- Medical Negligence cases
- Personal Injury cases
- Housing cases
- Debt and Welfare cases
- Immigration & Asylum cases
- Guardianship & Intervention orders
- Power of Attorney
Refusal of Legal Aid
If you are refused legal aid, SLAB will give you written reason for the refusal. You have ten days from the refusal date to request a reconsideration of the decision.
Contact our Legal Aid Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland
Keith Tuck Solicitors are highly experienced in the criminal law field. We offer our services to both privately funded and Legal Aid clients. We operate a 24 hour, 7 days a week telephone service for clients who require our advice outside office hours. Our solicitors operate in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. To speak to us about your eligibility for Legal Aid, or if you are looking for criminal defence, give us a call now on 01413362020, or contact us via our online contact form.