Time limit for applications in summary proceedings

An application for legal aid should normally be lodged with us within 14 days of the plea of not guilty, but we will consider a late application if we consider there is special reason. You will be asked to provide a reason why the application has been lodged outwith the 14 day time limit.

For example, we may accept as a special reason:

  • A delay to allow you to send us the application after the Crown has disclosed its case to the defence, if it is not clear without this information.
  • Receiving late instructions from the client about the case.

We have to consider the impact on the court process of an application submitted well beyond the regulatory time limit.


Adjournment of trial diet pending legal aid application

The court may adjourn a trial diet under Section 24 (6) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 to enable your client to apply for legal aid, where:

  • Your client appears without legal representation.
  • Your client has not applied for legal aid.
  • Your client has been refused legal aid as not being in the interests of justice.
  • Your court considers that owing to exceptional circumstances it would be inequitable to proceed without legal representation.

Where the court adjourns a trial diet, the 14 day time limit runs from the date of that adjournment.

In order to allow us to deal with such an application expeditiously, you should:

  • Clearly draw our attention to the adjournment, date of any intermediate diet and trial diet.
  • Provide all relevant details.
  • Provide a note of any comments made by the Sheriff or Justice of the Peace when adjourning the diet.

Where your client has applied to us for legal aid, automatic criminal legal aid is available until we decide the application under Section 24(7) of the 1986 Act.

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