Legal aid and access to justice

Financial survey of legal aid firms

Help us understand the impact of current legal aid levels – and earn CPD points – by completing our first financial survey of legal aid firms.

Download the survey form

Completing this survey will help us by:

  • Providing robust, independent information on the sustainability of civil, criminal and children’s legal aid work in different types of firm (including mixed practices);
  • Providing reliable evidence into the financial position of legal aid firms and profitability of this work and any difficulties facing legal aid practitioners;
  • Informing our discussions with the Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board on the impacts of current payment on access to justice; and
  • Informing our support services to firms, particularly those who deliver legal aid.

All information provided will remain confidential and the Society will not see the individual responses.

Please send your completed survey by 5pm on Monday 25th July to Andrew Otterburn, Otterburn Legal Consulting LLP:

Access to latest accounts is required to complete the survey, so please contact your firm’s cash room partner if necessary.

Completed responses count as one hour of CPD.

You can view answers to frequently asked questions about the survey.


Legal Assistance in Scotland - Fit for the 21st Century

In November 2014, the Law Society’s Legal Aid Committee published a discussion paper on legal assistance in Scotland. The consultation period closed on 30 January 2015.

We received over 50 responses from individuals and organisations. We have published these responses along with our consultation report. After analysing the consultation responses, in May 2015 we published our 18 key proposals in our recommendations paper ‘Legal Assistance in Scotland - Fit for the 21st Century’.

Read the consultation responses

Read the consultation report

Read the 18 key proposals in our recommendations paper ‘Legal Assistance in Scotland - Fit for the 21st Century

If you have any queries or comments, or to find out more about the Society's work on legal aid please contact us on  You can also join the conversation on twitter @lawscot #legalaid and solicitors can join our LinkedIn Legal Aid group.

Why are we making these proposals?

We do not believe that the current system is fit for purpose and at a time when there are ongoing reforms to modernise the wider court and justice system, we need to rethink the system as a whole and look at where efficiencies can be made and how savings can be reinvested into legal aid.

We relied on members and stakeholders to help inform our views on these important issues. We consulted with a wide range of justice system stakeholders as well as the Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board.


Taxation decisions

The Society will publish on our website a collection of taxation decisions in relation to legal aid cases across Scotland. It is hoped that this will provide solicitors with an easy method of sharing information and gaining a better picture of trends in taxations throughout the country.

If you have any decisions which you think would be useful for other practitioners, please send a copy of the decision together with any other relevant information to Marina Sinclair-Chin.


Expert witnesses

A copy of the Society's draft proposal on experts is available to download from this page. We hope that this proposal would both create a simplified procedure for finding and instructing an expert, and result in significant savings to the legal aid fund. This proposal is being discussed with SLAB, and we would welcome your thoughts and comments so that we can take these forward in our discussions.

To find out more about the Society's work on legal aid and access to justice, please contact Andrew Alexander on 0131 226 8886 or follow ScotLegalAid on Twitter.