Civil: General scope of legal aid in contempt of court proceedings

Section 30 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986: powers of the court in relation to contempt legal aid

Where the court is considering a finding of contempt against your client during, or in connection with any proceedings, it will deal with the contempt summarily and has power to grant legal aid before it deals with the contempt matter [Section 30 of the 1986 Act]. The court may arrange for any counsel or solicitor who is in court at the time to represent them.

Limited scope of Section 30 contempt: matters that may be covered instead by civil, children’s and criminal legal aid

Section 30 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 is not concerned with a wider range of civil, children’s and criminal proceedings that might broadly be described as “contempt of court”.  Civil legal aid is available to deal with matters such as:

  • Petitions alleging breach of interdict
  • Motions or minutes alleging failure to comply with an order of court.

In some cases where there is a risk of imprisonment, civil ABWOR may also be available.

Alternatively, the procurator fiscal may include a charge of contempt in an indictment or summary complaint.  In these circumstances, the contempt is being treated as a crime, and you would deal with this under criminal legal aid.

You should not apply in any of these circumstances for legal aid for contempt of court under section 30 of the Act.

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