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Society reiterates concerns over criminal contributions to legal aid

The Law Society of Scotland has reiterated its concerns over the details of new legislation which introduces financial contributions for many of those receiving criminal legal aid when it gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee.

The Society’s main concerns centre around:

  • The level at which contributions would become payable – the Society’s view is that the proposed threshold of £68 disposable income per week is too low. While the Society agrees that those who can afford to pay for their legal costs should do so, £68 is not a realistic amount from which to expect anybody to pay towards their legal costs.
  • Collection of contributions – The Society is of the view that SLAB should be the body responsible for collecting contributions as they already have processes and procedures in place to do so in civil legal aid cases. Providing a central collection point provides a clear and consistent system.