Code of Practice
Updating the Code of Practice is one of three strands of work that the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, asked SLAB to carry out as part of a review of the government’s strategy for legal aid.
Project lead: Brian Millar firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact for information: Michelle Fegan, Policy Assistant T: 0131 240 1892 E: email@example.com
SLAB has been considering an updated Code of Practice for some time, but we want to incorporate ideas from the profession and others.
We plan to consult on a new Code of Practice in late 2015/early 2016, but prior to that we will be discussing with a range of solicitors and other stakeholders before making the Code available for wider consultation.
The first stage will be to discuss the future scope and content of the Code with solicitors, faculty, representatives from the Justice Sector, clients and groups representing clients.
This will inform the content of the Code.
If you'd like to take part in this process, please contact Michelle Fegan.
These discussions will start in October and will produce a revised Code for formal consultation in early 2016.
Background to the code
The Code was first introduced in 1998 and has not been substantially altered since then. In that time there have been many changes to the wider justice system, general business practice, expectations of customer service and public service delivery. The Code is the foundation of a quality assurance scheme for criminal legal assistance.
It is one means by which SLAB, representing the public interest, shapes the way in which solicitors providing publicly funded criminal legal services deliver criminal legal assistance to the people of Scotland, by establishing and clarifying the appropriate criteria for service delivery and conduct.
We consider that the essentials of the Code are:
Standards for the minimum knowledge, skills and competencies required by solicitors
Standards for business systems required to deliver criminal legal assistance
- Standards of service to clients, taking into account duties to the court and funder.
Compliance with the Code assists SLAB and solicitors delivering publically funded criminal legal assistance to demonstrate that a cost-effective and quality assured service is being provided to the people of Scotland.
It also assists in ensuring that the delivery of criminal legal assistance makes a material contribution to the effective and efficient operation of the courts and wider justice system in Scotland.