Information for the Public
What Can We Help With?
Our advocates can assist with any of the specialist services which they would give in a paying case including:
- Written legal advice on your case
- Legal advice in a consultation with you
- Representation in courts, tribunals and at mediation
- An opinion on the merits of potential legal aid applications
We can help in all areas of law.
Who Can Get Help?
You may be able to get help in your case if the following applies:
- You cannot obtain public funding (legal aid)
- You cannot afford to pay for the help you need, or get it elsewhere
- Your case must usually have legal merit
- Any single piece of work for which assistance is requested will not take more than 3 days
The Unit has limited resources, and can only help in some cases.
How Can I Get Help?
All applications to the Unit must be made through an advice agency (see our list here).
If your advice agency has not heard of the Unit, they can contact us or visit this website for more information. It is entirely up to each advice agency whether or not to make an application to the Unit in any individual case.
If you want to apply on behalf of a charity, community group, company or other organisation, please contact us to find out how you can apply.
Deadlines For Applying
You should visit an advice agency as soon as possible. The earlier we get your application, the more likely it is that we can help. The Unit requires at least 3 weeks' notice before any hearing date or deadline.
Important Note About Costs
The service provided by the Unit is entirely free. However, in certain cases, the court or tribunal may order legal expenses to be paid by the client of a volunteer advocate to the party on the other side in the case.
Resources To Help You Find An Advice Agency
If you are a member of the public wanting to get help from the Unit, you need to go to an advice agency who can decide whether your case is one in which an application should be made to the Unit.
For more information on how to obtain pro bono help in Scotland, see the Scottish Guide to Pro Bono on the Pro Bono Week Website here.
The Unit can only assist in Scots law cases. If your case relates to an action which will be heard in the courts of England and Wales, you may wish to try one of these organisations: