Legal Aid Fees

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25 October 2022.

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Ash Regan:

No—I do not accept that at all.

I have set out some of the actions that this Government has taken, including the 3 per cent overall rise in fees in 2019, which was followed by the 5 per cent overall rise in fees in 2021, another overall rise in fees in 2022 and—as I set out in my previous answer—an additional fee package of £11 million this year on top of the investment that has already been made. That demonstrates that the Government is listening and that it is investing money in both civil and criminal legal aid.

I am always looking at what more I can do. I will give members examples of some of the things that have been done recently. We have provided £9 million of Covid resilience funding, we have put £1 million into traineeships—which the profession raised with me—we have made new payments for holiday courts and we have increased payments for appropriate early resolution. I am constantly working to see what more I can do.

In response to the member’s question about how we will go forward, we have the legal aid payment review panel. The member asked about our analysis. We need the approach to be evidence based: we want to get to a position in which everyone is working together to provide that evidence base. We will endeavour to set increases on that basis in the future.