Monitoring legal services

Monitoring the availability and accessibility of legal services

The Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 gave us the function of monitoring the availability and accessibility of legal services in Scotland, with reference to relevant factors relating to urban and rural areas.

We have arrangements in place to monitor legal services by:

  • Analysing the organisation’s data on trends in legal assistance and supply.
  • Supplementing this with other sources of data about legal services including information that may be requested of the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
  • Seeking the views of stakeholders, including service providers and users.
    • Where possible, in order to gain insight into access to legal services, we will convene groups of specialist organisations with specific interests and expertise in the topics being assessed for discussion.

The topics chosen for assessment under monitoring duty are based on identifying those areas of law which are either:

  • Anticipated to be at the potentially highest risk of problems.
  • Those in which legal aid plays a substantial role.
  • Directly relevant to the broader policy issues of the day, so as to maximise the relevance of our monitoring work to a range of stakeholders.

Previous approach to monitoring

This is a new approach to how we monitor legal services. In 2017, our approach was updated to the model above, in order to ensure the maximum utility of our monitoring work.

Our methods in preparing the first five monitoring reports previously included consultation with a more broad-ranging, fixed group of stakeholders (the Access to Justice Reference Group) and took a more over-arching rather than targeted approach to identifying the areas of law for assessment.


Monitoring Legal Services

File Type Size
2017 Fifth Monitoring Report 1 MB | 25 March 2019 PDF 1 MB
2012 First Monitoring Report 1 MB | 26 August 2019 PDF 1 MB
2013 Second Monitoring Report 1 MB | 26 August 2019 PDF 1 MB
2014 Third Monitoring Report 1 MB | 26 August 2019 PDF 1 MB
2015 Fourth Monitoring Report 1 MB | 26 August 2019 PDF 1 MB

Please contact John Osborne, Policy Projects Manager, on 0131 240 1889 or by email, for more information about this work.