Scottish Legal Aid Board annual report shows £11m fall

12 Dec


THE cost of legal assistance in the last year has fallen by £11.3 million, and the amount paid to advocates was also down, the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has announced in its annual report.

The total cost to the taxpayer of legal assistance in 2017-2018 was £124.4 million, as opposed to £135.7m the previous year.

Criminal legal assistance accounted for £74.1m, from £85.4m last year, and the greatest drop, around £7.7m, was in solemn criminal legal aid. SLAB says the 13 per cent fall in criminal payments “reflects a very significant and long-term fall in reported crime and the increasing availability and use of alternatives to prosecution.”

Overall, payments to advocates in the year totalled £11.9m, from £15m the previous year. Payments to solicitors were £95.1m (from £102.4m), and for solicitor-advocates, the payments were £2m (from £3m).

Angela Grahame, QC, Vice-Dean of Faculty, said: “Our members are committed to continuing to help those who need legal aid to gain access to justice. It is essential that those who are most in need are able to secure the best representation in civil and criminal proceedings.”

The annual report and related documents are at