As set out in this response, there are various actions which address some recommendations already underway. These will be progressed over the course of 2019 to achieve some of the recommendations that have been made. This will be taken forward in liaison with those who have an interest, and some of that work has already begun, such as the working group on single legal aid types.
Immediate priorities include the implementation of a 3% increase across all legal aid fees with effect from April 2019. We will consult the legal profession on early simplifications to criminal fees early in 2019 and continue to work with the Faculty of Advocates and Society of Solicitor Advocates on improvements to the structure of fees for counsel.
We will also publish the outcome of the consultation on Family Law for a Family Law Bill to be introduced during this parliamentary session.
During the course of 2019 we will publish a public consultation on future reforms that will deliver an improved, user-focused legal aid service for Scotland That will be used to develop primary legislation for introduction to the Scottish Parliament in this session.
In moving this work forward it will critical to have the constructive engagement of stakeholders and partners and Scottish Government is committed to working in partnership to deliver proposals for a reformed legal aid service in Scotland. The time given by stakeholders is very valuable and greatly appreciated and we look forward to continuing work over the coming year and beyond.
Email: Shona Urquhart