Legal Aid Fees

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

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The Minister for Community Safety (Ash Regan):

I do not recognise the figure that Liam Kerr just used. I wrote to the Criminal Justice Committee in June 2022 setting out in detail the history of fee reforms since devolution. If Liam Kerr has not had a chance to read that letter, I encourage him to do so.

Since 2019, all legal aid fees have been increased by 13.6 per cent and we have offered to the profession a further enhanced package of reforms and increases that are worth £11 million a year, which the Law Society of Scotland has accepted. I hope that boycott action will cease as a result of that further funding.

Officials engage closely with the Scottish Legal Aid Board to keep under review the availability of publicly funded legal services. The Scottish Government also provides funding to law centres as well as to local advice providers. Legal services are also provided through the Civil Legal Assistance Office and the Public Defence Solicitors Office. All those services can operate across a wide geographical area.