Legal aid lawyers left in the lurch as Scottish government ignores pleas for help
The Glasgow Bar Association (GBA) said it is “astonished” that the Scottish government has not yet offered any financial support for legal aid firms “despite what has now been months of consideration of the profession’s proposals”.
In a letter to Holyrood’s Justice Committee, the GBA noted that legal aid practitioners are in a “desperate financial situation” as a result of the pandemic.
It states: “The Law Society of Scotland has made detailed proposals of a comprehensive and costed package to preserve and promote the administration of justice and to preserve access to legal aid provision for the people of Scotland. Our members have waited patiently for the Scottish government to provide them a support package recognising the essential role these practitioners undertake in the justice partnership.
“Our membership consists of the small to medium enterprises that the government stated at the outset they wished to help. We are astonished and deeply concerned that the Scottish government has still not provided an offer, despite months of discussions having taken place. Our members have worked for seven months of lockdown in the most fraught circumstances, showing flexibility, working on holidays and adapting to new ways of undertaking court representation to ensure that the court process continues. The promise to come back to the profession ‘as soon as possible’ is simply not good enough.”