Legal Aid Payment Advisory Panel minutes: March 2019

Minutes and supporting papers from the first meeting of Legal Aid Payment Advisory Panel, held on 15 March 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Neil Rennick, Chair
  • Ian Moir, Law Society of Scotland
  • Paul Brown, Scottish Association of Law Centres
  • Professor Frank Stephen 
  • Colin Lancaster, Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Raymond McMenamin, Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Ross Yuill, Society of Solicitor Advocates
  • Ruth Innes QC, Faculty of Advocates 
  • Paul Brown
  • Susan McPhee

Scottish Government officials 

  • Denise Swanson, Head of Access to Justice
  • Kieran Burke, Bill Team Leader, Access to Justice
  • Shona Urquhart, Legal Aid Reform Manager, Access to Justice
  • Peter Conlong, Senior Economist, Justice Analytical Services
  • Steven Ing, Economic Advisor, Justice Analytical Services


  • Professor Alan Paterson 
  • Fiona Rutherford, Ministry of Justice


  • Ronald Renucci QC
  • Mark Thorely

Items and actions


Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham opened the meeting and welcomed the members to the panel.

Agenda item 1: remit, terms of reference and expected outcomes

The panel considered the draft paper and suggested amendments have been incorporated into a formalised agreed paper. This will be published on the panel webpage.

The first meeting will focus on the current legal aid system, trends in legal aid applications and how this affects the different specialisms within the legal profession.

Agenda item 2

Presentation by Peter Conlong, Justice Analytical Services:

  • Trends in crime and court volumes

Agenda item 3

Presentation by Matt Taylor and Steven Carrie, Scottish Legal Aid Board: 

  • Payment framework of publicly funded legal assistance

Agenda item 4

Presentation by Andrew Alexander, Law Society of Scotland: 

  • Legal aid fees

Agenda item 5

Presentation by Ruth Innes QC, Faculty of Advocates

The panel were given an overview of the current structures for criminal and civil law from a Faculty perspective. The general view from Faculty was that the structures worked well but that there were areas of frustration or inflexibility which could be improved upon. Overall keen to retain as much of the current structures for payment to Faculty as possible.

Agenda item 6

Presentation by John Scott QC, Society of Solicitor Advocates

The panel were given an overview of the current structures from a Solicitor advocate perspective. The structures were considered to work well and favoured block payments. Flexibility was also raised as an issue. Adequate consideration of preparation for cases was also an area which could be improved upon.

Agenda item 7

Presentation by Angus McIntosh, Scottish Association of Law Centres:

  • Expert advisory panel on civil legal aid

Priorities for next meeting

Consider payment structures in other jurisdictions.

Next meeting: 7 June 2019

Presentation papers

Item 2: Trends in crime and court volumes

Item 4: Legal aid fees

Item 7: Expert advisory panel on civil legal aid

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