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Friday, December 2, 2022

Legal Aid Offer

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Enhanced fees for lawyers to support profession.

Community Safety Minister Ash Regan has made a “substantial and credible offer” of support to Legal Aid practitioners.

A robust package of support was set out by Ms Regan in a letter to the sector which builds on the increases to fees already introduced over the past three years.

The offer directly addresses issues raised as priorities by the legal profession and has been made following extensive engagement to provide a sustainable way forward for criminal defence solicitors.

It sets out:

  • A package of funding worth £11m. This is equivalent to an 10.3% increase in solicitors’ fees, on top of the £10m increase already introduced, and would bring the total recurring increase to legal fees since 2019 to over 25.2%
  • Significant extension of a legal traineeship scheme for a further two years at a cost of an additional £1m
  • And a framework for agreeing regular, evidence-based, fee reviews that directly addresses issues raised by the legal profession as priorities

Minister for Community Safety Ash Regan said:

“This is a substantial and credible offer following extensive engagement with the sector and I’d urge lawyers to accept it.

“Our aim always has been to find a settlement that responds to the concerns raised by members of the profession and builds on the increases to fees already introduced over the past three years.

“We also have to find an agreement that is affordable in the context of public finances and supports the on-going process of justice recovery and transformation.

“The offer has been made in the context of a very challenging financial position and that is why I must emphasise there is no scope for further immediate increases beyond this offer.

“Additionally I have asked for a cessation of planned disruptive action which has the potential to be damaging to witnesses and complainers.

“Scotland has the finest legal aid system in the world and this credible and robust package will support vitally important criminal defence work as the justice sector continues its recovery from the COVID period.”

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