Legal aid reform: consultation

This document is the basis of a 12 week public consultation on legal aid reform in Scotland.

Annex D: Financial Eligibility

A client seeking advice and assistance is eligible if they have total disposable income of less than £245 per week and disposable capital under £1,716. A relatively basic assessment is undertaken by the client's solicitor; although there some standard allowances no regard is had to household liabilities.

A client applying for civil legal aid is subject to a more detailed analysis of household earnings, assets, liabilities and certain costs to determine disposable income and disposable capital. The financially eligibility thresholds are more generous, with a client entitled to civil legal aid if disposable income does not exceed £26,239 a year and disposable capital does not exceed £13,017. The assessment is carried out by SLAB.

For both summary and solemn criminal legal aid SLAB will assess financial eligibility on basis of whether the expenses of the case could not be met without undue hardship to the applicant or their dependants. For both aid types the upper threshold for capital is tied to that for advice and assistance, and in summary criminal legal aid the upper threshold of income is linked to that for civil legal aid. If the applicant has a spouse or partner, details of that person's finances must also be provided unless that person is a co-accused, complainer or a Crown witness in the case against the applicant.

Certain types of advice, such as police station advice, and certain kinds of cases, such as applications for adults with incapacity orders, are not subject to a financial assessment.



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