9. Legal Aid Impact Test
Legal Aid will have no direct role in the statutory redress scheme as Scottish Government will pay applicants’ legal costs. Survivors will be able to approach any lawyer of their choosing at no cost to themselves, provided that the advice sought concerns eligibility, types of redress payments, the application process, and matters in connection with waiver and reviews.
It is anticipated that the launch of the redress scheme may result in an increase in the volume of Legal Aid applications from survivors wishing to pursue civil cases against abusers. While some survivors will already be pursuing legal action regardless of the anticipated launch of the redress scheme, it is possible that others will wait for the final details of the scheme to be published in order to assess whether they would prefer to go to raise civil proceedings or apply for redress. It is also possible that some redress applicants will not be satisfied with the sum offered to them by the redress scheme and will choose instead to decline the payment and initiate civil proceedings. It is not possible to provide an estimate of the additional Legal Aid caseload at this time.
It has been agreed that redress payments made under Part 4 of the Act will be disregarded as disposable capital and income for the purposes of legal aid application means-testing in Scotland. Amendments were made to the relevant legislation in 2021 to ensure this.
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