There are three possible outcomes if your client is granted legal aid:

  • Your client is entitled to children’s legal aid on a “nil” contribution basis as their disposable income and disposable capital fall below the contribution threshold
  • Your client is asked to pay a contribution towards the grant of children’s legal aid as their disposable income is above the contribution threshold, but still within the upper limit for income
  • Your client’s disposable capital and or income exceeds the upper limit. They may still be granted children’s legal aid if it is considered that refusing legal aid would cause undue hardship

Current upper and lower limits are published annually in the Keycard and on our website.

This table illustrates how contributions in children’s legal aid are calculated. The amount of contribution depends on the type of proceedings involved. The top row details the various sections of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011. We have calculated average duration times for these cases and the times are given in the second row.  The first column shows examples of disposable incomes up to the current maximum of £222. The next column shows your client’s contribution depending on income and the type of proceedings involved.


S98, S99, S160 & Part 4 Orders under the Age of Responsbility (Scotland) Act 2019 S101, S110, S154, S161,

S162, S166, S48

S163, S164, S165, S167
Average WEEKS


4 12 24
Average weekly DI



£100-£68 = £32 £32@20% x4)




(£32 @10%x24)




£26.50 + (£30@40%x4)



(£30@25%x 12)


£76.80 + (£30@20%x24)




£73.60 +

(£30 @55% x4)


£147.60 +

(£30@45% x12)


£220.80 + (£30@30% x 24)




£139.60 +

(£62 @ 70% x 4)


£309.60 +

(£62@67% x 12)


£436.80 +

(£62@40% x 24)

Contributions from capital are the whole amount by which the disposable capital exceeds the contribution threshold.

It is important that you tell your client that, if they have to pay a contribution, it is a condition of the grant of children’s legal aid that they do so. They risk losing their legal aid if they do not pay their installments on time.

Paying contributions in instalments

We will usually allow a contribution derived from income to be paid in installments. The table sets out the level of installments usually given for payment of a contribution.

Contribution Instalments Maximum instalment
Up to £20 1 £20
£21-£50 2 £25
£51-£200 5 £40
£201-£500 10 £50
£501-£1000 12 £83
£1001- £1500 18 £83
Over £1500 24 —–


If your client finds it difficult to meet the payments levels set, we may be prepared to allow them to pay the contribution over a longer period. You should contact our Debt Recovery Unit to discuss this.

If the contribution is derived from disposable capital, it will normally have to be paid in a lump sum when legal aid starts.

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