What we do


The Scottish Legal Aid Board was set up in 1987 to manage legal aid in Scotland. We are a non-departmental public body responsible to the Scottish Government. 


Our work

For more information go to Our work

Purpose of legal aid 

The purpose of legal aid in Scotland is to provide access to justice for those people who are unable to pay for it on their own.

By providing people with access to assistance and representation at difficult times in their lives, we contribute to the Scottish Government’s Purpose to deliver a more successful Scotland with opportunities for everyone.

Legal aid in Scotland provides a vital service to people, many of them vulnerable, who would not otherwise be able to pursue or defend their rights, or fund their defence. Legal aid can make an important difference to people at difficult times in their lives. For example, it can help people maintain their financial security, keep their jobs or prevent unfair dismissal, or help remove them from the dangers of domestic abuse. By doing this, legal aid helps to prevent wider social problems such as people slipping into poverty. It therefore improves people's lives and helps Scotland become a more successful place.

Legal aid is also an important element of the wider criminal justice system and by providing publicly funded legal assistance to those accused of crimes, legal aid helps the criminal justice system to operate fairly. An effective and efficient system of legal aid helps cases to be processed through the courts as quickly as possible.

Strategic objectives 

Our strategic aims are:

  • To provide access to a range of quality assured legal help in Scotland, when and where it is needed

  • To obtain best value for the tax payer through delivery of efficient legal assistance services in Scotland

  • To contribute to an efficient justice system in Scotland by providing an efficient legal aid system

Through the achievement of these aims, we contribute to the achievements of the Scottish Government’s Purpose and National Outcomes.

Quick links

24, Apr, 2014

New help for families with children facing debt and money problems

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16, Apr, 2014

Children’s Duty Scheme – Easter arrangements

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16, Apr, 2014

Review of publicly funded legal assistance

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16, Apr, 2014

Easter opening hours and payments schedule

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10, Apr, 2014

Court and Police Station Duty Schemes Update

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09, Apr, 2014

Phone lines are fully operational

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08, Apr, 2014

Ongoing issue with phone services

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08, Apr, 2014

Issue with our phone system

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28, Mar, 2014

Legal Aid Online

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26, Mar, 2014

End of financial year payment dates for the profession

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14, Mar, 2014

Advocate Mark Strachan sentenced to two years imprisonment for fraud and attempted fraud

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03, Jan, 2014

Additional £280,000 for SLAB’s Making Advice Work programme

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27, Sep, 2013

Annual Report 2012-2013

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