Appendix 5 Summary of Legal Aid and Assistance
1. ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE
As at present, advice and assistance will be available to all persons, assuming they qualify, for general advice before and after a children's hearing and for advice on associated court proceedings. Where the client is a child this assumes that the child has sufficient capacity to instruct a solicitor directly.
(A child aged 12 or over is deemed to be of sufficient age to instruct a solicitor although a child younger than this may also be able to instruct a solicitor.)
2. AUTOMATIC CHILDREN'S LEGAL AID
Automatic legal aid is available only to a child and in the four specified circumstances where that child has not secured themselves their own solicitor. Again, this assumes that the child has sufficient capacity to instruct a solicitor directly.
The 4 specified circumstances are -
- Application to a sheriff for variation or termination of a child protection order
- Second working day hearing following the granting of a child protection order
- A children's hearing where placement of the child in secure accommodation is under consideration
- A children's hearing where child been arrested and detained in custody for the alleged commission of a criminal offence
3. ASSISTANCE BY WAY OF REPRESENTATION
For all other hearings which fall outwith the four specified hearings, the solicitor representing a child, relevant person or a deemed relevant person would apply a means test and then make an application to the Scottish Legal Aid Board who would consider the case and ultimately make a decision. Where the client is a child this assumes that the child has sufficient capacity to instruct a solicitor directly.
Contact direction review- Assistance by way of representation is available to an individual for representation at a contact direction review hearing only, subject to a means test applied by the solicitor and a merits test applied by the Board.
Individual seeking deemed relevant person status- Assistance by way of representation is available to a person seeking deemed relevant person status at a pre-hearing panel( but only where there is no compulsory supervision order in place for the child )subject to a means and merits test being applied by the solicitor.
4. CHILDREN'S LEGAL AID
his is available to a child, relevant person or a person who has been deemed to be relevant at a pre-hearing panel or children's hearing for all court related court proceedings (including appeals against panel decisions) before the sheriff, Sheriff Principal and Court of Session. Where the client is a child this assumes that they have sufficient capacity to instruct a solicitor directly.
Deemed relevant person status-Children's Legal Aid will also be available to an individual who wishes to appeal against a decision of a pre-hearing panel or children's hearing not to deem them to be a relevant person.
Contact direction review-Children's Legal Aid will also be available to an individual who wishes to appeal against a decision taken at a contact direction review hearing.
An application for children's legal aid is made to SLAB who will apply the means and merits test.
Special urgency children's legal aid will be made available to all those entitled to receive children's legal aid but where there has been insufficient time to submit /consider a full children's aid application and where special urgency can be shown.