Legal Aid Fees

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

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

The Government is clearly not responding.

I was interested to hear that the minister is sympathetic only to some of the issues and not, clearly, to all of them. The impact falls on victims of crime, too, because they are involved in cases that are already being delayed by huge court backlogs. That, combined with the fact that 40,000 of the poorest people in Aberdeen do not have direct access to a single legal aid firm, should cause the Government to hang its head in shame at what is happening in some of the most vulnerable areas in our justice system in places such as Scotland’s silver city.

Yesterday, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service responded to the proposed justice budget freeze by suggesting that the current backlog will grow by 2025 and that summary cases in particular might suffer. Does the minister recognise those appalling consequences of her Government’s actions? We did not hear an answer to my first question, so I ask what she is doing right now to ensure adequate access to legal aid firms, in Aberdeen in particular.