Legal Aid Scotland

What is legal aid?

If you are charged with a criminal offence in Scotland, you may be eligible for legal aid. This means that the Scottish Legal Aid Board will pay your solicitor or lawyer some, or all, of your legal fees. Legal Aid for criminal cases is means-tested and depends on your financial situation. The grant of legal aid can also depend on the nature of the offence. 

 

Alex Lafferty Criminal Defence Lawyers will apply for legal aid on your behalf. During our first meeting, we will advise you on whether you will qualify for legal aid

 

Even if you are not entitled to legal aid, we will provide you with a free initial consultation. If, after consultation, you choose to use our firm to defend you, we can agree on competitive rates in advance.

Who is eligible for legal aid in Scotland?

 

Criminal legal aid is usually granted if:

  • You're likely to go to prison if convicted

  • You're likely to lose your job if convicted

  • You can't follow what's happening in the trial because of a mental or physical disability or English isn't your first language

  • You're being kept in custody until a trial

  • You want to appeal against a decision a criminal court made about you

  • You've been charged with a serious offence on petition under solemn procedure (this means it's likely there will be a trial with a jury)

 

You'll also have to show that you can't afford to pay your legal costs yourself, or that paying them would be unfair to you or your family.

 

NOTE If your case involves a minor offence, such as a motoring offence, it's NOT likely you'll get help with legal costs.

What do you need to apply for legal aid?

 

Check with us before your appointment so you know exactly what to bring with you, but you usually need to bring the following information for both yourself and your partner (unless you're separated or they are the person you have a legal problem with):

  • Your most recent bank statements showing your income and capital or savings

  • Recent wage slips, or accounts if you're self-employed

  • Current benefit award letters or notifications

  • Details of all savings or accounts – bank/building society/post office statement or passbooks

  • National Insurance numbers

  • Proof of all your outgoing, e.g. loans, rent

For free legal advice, contact Mary Moultrie and team at Alex Lafferty Ltd, Criminal Defence Lawyers in Scotland