Civil legal aid: statutory tests for applications

Legal aid is available to a person where, on application, we are satisfied that:

  • They have probable cause, and
  • It is reasonable in the particular circumstances of the case that they should receive legal aid (section 14 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986).

The relationship between the tests of probable cause and reasonableness is discussed in the case of McTear-v-The Scottish Legal Aid Board 1995 SCLR 611.

We also assess your client’s disposable income and capital in deciding whether to grant legal aid (section 15 of the Act).

The availability of legal aid is not restricted in any way by nationality or residence.  It is available to anyone for proceedings before a court in Scotland, provided legal aid is available for those proceedings and in that court.

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