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Scotland’s Legal Aid System “No Longer Fit For Purpose”

A damning report from the Law Society of Scotland has called for reforms to the legal aid system, stating that it has not kept up with reforms in the wider justice system.

Despite savings of £20 million from the previous year, more than £150 million was spent on providing legal aid in Scotland throughout 2013/14, with the report calling for a more streamlined approach to distributing the service.

A report from the Law Society of Scotland called for the introduction of a new system of criminal legal aid, which could create a single category of “criminal legal assistance” instead of the various categories which currently exist.

The report also called for savings to be reinvested into streamlining the process to reduce the number of cases in the system, and reduce the number of cases by encouraging early resolution of cases.

Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The current legal aid system is almost 30 years old.

“In that time there has been extensive change, which has resulted in a system that is hugely complex, with even highly experienced solicitors reporting that they find it difficult to navigate.”

He added: “We don’t believe that the current system is fit for purpose and, with the ongoing reforms to modernise the wider court and justice system, the time is right for root and branch change.”

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