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.
For more information go to Our work.
Purpose of legal aid
The purpose of legal aid in Scotland is to provide access to legal assistance and representation 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.
To manage and improve continuously publicly funded legal assistance and to advise Scottish Ministers on its strategic development for the benefit of society
Our strategic objectives are:
To deliver improvements to legal aid processes that increase efficiency and improve the experience of system users and customers
To advise Scottish Ministers on the strategic development of legal assistance and its contribution to a Scotland in which rights are supported and disputes are resolved fairly and swiftly
To ensure that our organisation has the culture and capability to be responsive to our customers, the justice system and developments in legal and advice services
To build and maintain effective and collaborative relationships with the legal and advice sector and our public sector partners as we seek to achieve our Purpose and contribute to wider Scottish Government aims
By fulfilling our Purpose and Strategic Objectives, both we and legal aid will better contribute to the achievement of Scottish Government aims, an efficient justice system and improved outcomes for those who need services supported by legal aid.