Criminal legal aid for a referral to the European Court, compatibility issues and the UK Supreme Court

Referrals to the European Court

Criminal legal aid does not extend to advice or representation to the European Court of Human Rights. Any reference to this court would be considered to be a civil matter.

Advice and assistance is not available.

Compatibility issues

Where a compatibility issue [section 288ZB (reference) and 288AA appeal of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995] is raised and referred to the High Court of Justiciary, any criminal legal aid available will include work relating to these proceedings.

UK Supreme Court

Criminal legal aid is available in connection with any reference, appeal or application for special leave to appeal to the Supreme Court [paragraph 11, 13(a) or 33 of the 1995 Act].

Any court consisting of two or more judges of the High Court may refer any devolution issue to the Supreme Court.  You have the right to appeal to the Judicial Committee against a determination of a devolution issue by a court of two or more judges of the High Court. This is only with leave of the court concerned or with special leave of the Supreme Court.

The matter may be taken directly to the Supreme Court by the Lord Advocate from any court or tribunal to which the Lord Advocate is a party.

Where criminal legal aid has already been made available for proceedings, that criminal legal aid will cover the reference. You do not require to make a fresh application.

However, you must make a fresh application for legal aid where:

  • An appeal is to be made to the Supreme Court
  • An application is to be made to the Supreme Court for special leave to appeal

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