Financial eligibility for civil legal aid: general conditions and limits
To be eligible for legal aid, an applicant must satisfy the financial conditions on disposable income and disposable capital set out in section 15 of the Act. ”Disposable income” and “disposable income” are defined in section 42. The financial eligibility limits are revised periodically, usually at annual intervals. Schedules 2 and 3 to the regulations contain detailed rules for computing disposable income and disposable capital respectively. We assess an applicant’s disposable income and capital in deciding whether to grant legal aid.
Special rules (paragraph 15 of Schedule 3) apply to assessing the disposable capital of anyone of pensionable age.
Section 42 of the Act requires that when an applicant has a disposable income which exceeds the relevant upper limit set by the Scottish Parliament then the application for legal aid must be refused. If, however, the applicant is found to have disposable capital in excess of that upper limit, consideration can be given, if we consider that the applicant cannot otherwise afford to proceed, to granting legal aid. Further information about the factors we will take into account when considering if an applicant whose capital exceeds the upper limit should be granted legal aid is available. Each case will be considered on its own facts and circumstances.
In this section
Choosing the right financial information form for the client
Use the appropriate civil application financial form depending on clients circumstances
Civil legal aid assessment period and its consequences: ‘period of computation’
View information about the period of computation and your client's obligation to tell us about any change in circumstances that may affect their eligibility.
Taking partners’ financial resources into account: civil legal aid
Learn about how partner is defined, contrary interest and parties living apart when considering financial resources for civil legal aid.
Civil legal aid: how we calculate income and what’s included
Learn about assessment of wages/salary from employment, net profit from self-employment or business, other souces of income and things that can be disregarded.
Civil legal aid: assessment of capital resources and relevant disregards/allowances
Find out which of your client's capital resources must be taken into account when applying for legal aid.
Financial assessment where applicant has deprived themselves of resources: no disregards given
Under regulation 12, we must consider capital disposed of before an application was made.
Calculating disposable capital and disregards: are the resources the subject matter of dispute?
Assessing the clients disposable capital and guidance on the relationship between subject matter of dispute and clawback
Financial assessment for special categories of applicant
The financial resources of any person who owes a POA to a child applicant are to be treated as part of the child’s own resources unless unjust to do so.
Appellate proceedings: is a fresh financial assessment and additional contribution necessary?
We may reassess disposable income and disposable capital if there has been a change in circumstances that would normally result in a reassessment.
Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000: modified financial assessment process
Guidance on modified financial assessment process in Adults with Incapacity cases
Will my client be liable to pay a contribution?
Information on how instalment rates of maximum contribution are set and the relationship with case cost.