Commenting on the First Minister’s nomination of Keith Brown as Cabinet Secretary for Justice, the president of the Law Society Amanda Millar said: “I congratulate Keith Brown on his nomination as Cabinet Secretary for Justice. It is vital that he focuses on ensuring our justice system recovers from the pandemic and that those in need of legal services get the help they deserve.

“Top of his in-box must be getting more financial support out to more legal aid firms across the country, many of which are fighting for survival because of the fall in court business. The package announced last year was a start but most of the promised £9 million remains sitting in the Scottish Government’s bank account unspent. We need to get this money out to firms now otherwise we risk an access to justice crisis across the country, impacting on society’s most vulnerable. My message to the new Cabinet Secretary is a simple one; time is running out.

“It is also critical that we get Scotland’s courts back on track with a comprehensive plan which tackles the huge backlog of cases which built up because of the COVID lockdowns. Justice delayed is justice denied and the new ministerial team must concentrate on getting the resources which are needed across the board to increase court capacity in a way that is fair to all users.

“All of us look forward to working with Mr Brown and wish him well for the coming weeks and months.”