Legal Aid Lawyers

Scottish Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator

What is Scottish Legal Aid?

The British Taxpayer funds Scottish Legal Aid. It acts as a safety net to provide funding to pay for a lawyer to act in situations where a person is facing criminal allegations and is not in a financial position to pay for the cost of legal representation. Criminal Legal Aid is always available for a Police Station interview for everyone. Within this article, we will discuss the Legal Aid Scotland criteria, which is important to know for your case.

Legal Aid FAQ

A: Yes. It is automatically covered and you will not have to fill out any forms or provide wageslips. A multi-millionaire would qualify!
A: Legal aid covers the interview. If it becomes a court case we would have to make an application for Legal Aid.
A: Not if it is a minor matter eg. speeding, parking, red light, mobile phone, etc. More serious matters eg, Death by dangerous driving may qualify.
Q: It depends on your financial circumstances. An application would need to be prepared.
A: It depends on your financial circumstances, An application would have to be made.
A: Even with some capital you may be entitled to legal aid, However, the more serious the case, eg solemn matters the amount of available assets will come into play.
A: As of January 2019, the capital limit is £1716 ( eg. savings). Summary cases held at the JP court is also £1716. Summary cases held at the Sherrif Court or solemn case at the Sheriff Court / High Court then there is a far higher limit and it is easier to get Legal Aid.
A: Experts , eg medical report, telecoms expert. If it transpires that an expert is needed and you cannot afford it , legal aid will be applied for.
A: https://www.slab.org.uk/public/advice/index.html
If you or your partner receive income support, or income-based jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance, you will qualify automatically.

Legal Aid for Police Station Interviews.

In Scotland, free legal advice is available to everyone in custody. So if you are arrested or asked to attend a police interview with the police, you have the right to arrange for a solicitor to attend and you will not be required pay for his attendance at your interview. You can hire solicitors with legal aid, the important thing is to make sure you are eligible.

With Police station interviews; this is automatic, and Graham Walker Solicitors Carlton Place office will deal with the application. You will not need to vouch for your income or provide wage slips.

Legal Aid for Court Appearances

Legal aid Scotland is available if you are charged and have to appear in court. You have the right to ask for a lawyer of your choice to be contacted. Otherwise, the court will appoint the duty lawyer to represent you at your initial appearance in court. Graham Walker Solicitors are registered to provide Scottish Legal Aid and appear daily in courts all over Scotland for their clients. If you ever find yourself in custody and request us to act on your behalf, we will arrange for a solicitor to attend the police station to look after your interests. On many occasions, simply following the advice given by our solicitors has resulted in the case going no further due to lack of evidence.

Remember what you say in an interview can be used in court against you. Many people have been convicted of offences because they gave the necessary evidence that the police may have been lacking in their interview. So always have a lawyer contacted, it will cost you nothing and may save from the damage you might do to your case before it has even reached the courts.

How do I get Legal Aid for My Trial?

Scottish Legal aid automatically covers police stations interviews or if you are interviewed by the police but are not in custody. 

You have to overcome two hurdles to qualify for Legal Aid Scotland if you plead not guilty and intend to go to trial.

The first hurdle to overcome is whether it is ‘in the interests of justice’ that you are legally represented. The more serious the charge, the more likely you are to satisfy this requirement.

Criminal legal aid also depends on your financial circumstances. If the case’s cost would cause you or your dependents ‘undue’ hardship, you are more likely to be given Scottish legal aid.

How Do I apply for Legal Aid?

To apply for legal aid, you’ll need to find legal aid criminal solicitors who are registered to do legal aid work. Graham Walker Solicitors are registered for Criminal Legal Aid, and we can be contacted on any of the numbers on this webpage for immediate advice. You may be wondering what is the Legal Aid Scotland criteria? We’ll talk you through your options, let you know if you’re likely to get Scottish legal aid and help you with the application process.

Legal Aid criminal solicitors assistance can include advice and assistance and criminal legal aid. The help you can get will depend on:

  • the seriousness of the charges you face
  • whether you are in custody
  • whether you plan to plead guilty or not guilty

Advice and assistance may be advice from us about your case, or it may be advice from us if you are a suspect in a police station or in some cases we will also be able to act for you in court.

This may be free, or you may have to contribute towards the cost of your case. The amount will depend on your income and savings or property you own.

Criminal legal aid is only available after you have pled not guilty, or in more serious cases, when you first appear in court.

If you qualify for criminal legal aid, it is always free. You will not have to pay anything towards the cost of the case. We will help you to apply for Legal Aid Scotland.

When Should I contact a Legal Aid Lawyer?

If you have been arrested and have been taken into custody and wish us to attend the police station, advise the police of our Firm’s name, Graham Walker Solicitors. Our contact details are on the police computer system, and we are contactable 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week. Scottish Legal Aid is always available for Police Station interviews.

You should call us for free Legal Aid advice in the first instance if you:

Free legal advice criminal law

If the police contact you to attend a police interview, simply phone our 24 Hour number for immediate free legal aid solicitors advice. Where necessary, we will arrange for one of our experienced Legal Aid Scotland criminal lawyers to attend the police station.

Where you have been charged with a crime or crimes, and have been released to appear in court at a later date if you have not already contacted us the sooner you do, the better.

Where you have received a letter telling you to go to court to face criminal charges, contact us when you get the letter.

Finally, if you can have been served with a fixed penalty and you want to go to court to challenge this, the sooner you contact us, the better.

Financial Eligibility

You must provide us with information about your income, savings and children or other people you are supporting. The financial Legal Aid Scotland criteria are quite extensive. You may also have to give information about a partner if they live with you. You should provide us with any information as soon as possible.  Examples of what you may have to provide include some of the following:

  • bank statements, recent wage slips or if you are self-employed your accounts
  • pension payment advice from an ex-employer, pension or benefit book
  • current benefits award letters or notifications for assistance
  • copy statements of your savings or current accounts with your bank, building society or post office.

We will help you go through your case and your circumstances to assess your eligibility through a Legal Aid means test. You could use out free Legal Aid eligibility calculator to check this.

If you are eligible for Legal Aid, you may still have to pay something towards your legal costs if:

  • Your income, savings or other capital are above a certain level. This is called a contribution.

Your legal aid solicitor will be able to tell you about the potential costs of your case, and the Scottish Legal Aid Board will let you know if you have to pay anything towards it.

Financial eligibility income and capital limits

You are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid Scotland for advice and assistance in Scotland if:

  • You receive certain benefits such as Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance.
  • Your weekly disposable income is less £245.  Disposable income is the money you have left after tax, NI contributions and any maintenance payments you make.

However, even if you qualify through benefits or income, if you have savings or capital, this may prevent you from making a claim.

Currently, the capital limit for advice and assistance is £1,716.  If you have more than £1,716 in savings or valuable possessions on the day you apply, you won’t be eligible for Legal Aid.  This is regardless of whether you would be eligible based on benefits or income.

In all cases, the board will require recent proof of your savings and income to make their assessment.

If you choose to reduce your capital under the limit to appear eligible, the board will be able to see the withdrawal in your records as well as your usual (and recent) income and could take a dim view.

If you are accused in a solemn case, you are automatically entitled to Legal Aid Scotland while you are in custody, until:

  • a decision is made about whether to grant you Scottish legal aid
  • you are given bail.

Criminal Legal Aid is usually granted in the following cases:

  • if you are likely to go to prison if convicted
  • if you are likely to lose your job if convicted
  • if you cannot follow what is happening in the trial because of mental or physical disability
  • if you do not speak English as a first language
  • if you have been remanded in custody pending a trial
  • if you intend to appeal against a decision of the court.

Graham Walker Solicitors are here to help with any questions you may have about applying for Scottish Legal Aid. Call us now on any of the helpline numbers on this webpage for free expert advice on your eligibility.

I was interviewed at Kilmarnock Police station and it did not cost me a bean due to these fantastic legal aid criminal solicitors! I did not have to show wage slips or fill out any forms.

Joyce from KIlmarnock
Joyce from KIlmarnock

I had £1800 in savings when I applied for Legal Aid from SLAB. I was worried I would have to pay for my trial, however it was dealt with when I visited the office at Carlton Place, Glasgow City Centre. Thank you for explaining the Legal Aid Scotland criteria so clearly.

Charlie from Glasgow
Charlie from Glasgow

I thought criminal legal aid came from the Law Society of Scotland, however I found out after speaking with Matthew Berlow criminal lawyer at Graham Walker Solicitors, that this is run by SLAB (Scottish Legal Aid Board)

Arthur from Ayr
Arthur from Ayr