Legal Aid

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I can’t afford to pay for a solicitor. What can I do?

Legal Aid is available for advice and assistance and representation in court for:

You will need to show that you can’t afford to pay for legal help.  This will include an assessment of your:

  • Savings
  • Disposable income
  • Benefits

Can I access legal aid for a criminal case?

Yes. If you are unable to afford a solicitor, Legal Aid is available for criminal cases. However, it is usually only granted in certain circumstances:

  • You're likely to go to prison if convicted
  • You're likely to lose your job if convicted
  • You can't follow what's happening in the trial because of a mental or physical disability or English isn't your first language
  • You're being kept in custody until a trial
  • You want to appeal against a decision a criminal court made about you
  • You've been charged with a serious offence on petition under solemn procedure (this means it's likely there will be a trial with a jury)

You'll also have to show that you can't afford to pay your legal costs yourself, or that paying them would be unfair to you or your family.

Source: mygov.scot

Can I access legal aid for a Children’s Hearing?

Yes. If you are unable to afford a solicitor, Legal Aid is available for:

  • Legal advice about a Children's Hearing (this is called 'advice and assistance)' – for example, a solicitor can tell you what to expect, what decisions can be made and how to appeal
  • Representation at a Children's Hearing (this is called 'advice by the way of representation')
  • Representation at a Children's Hearing court case (this is called 'legal aid')

Source: mygov.scot

Help and advice

The following organisations provide free legal advice:

A table with examples of appropriate language use
A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024


The following organisations offer support on this topic.

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