Timing issues: when to apply for legal aid for a criminal appeal

Initial advice and assistance: visiting a client in custody

Apart from financial eligibility, the requirement to apply any other criteria will depend on the statutory or other basis under which the appeal is made.

Cases where leave to appeal is required: legal aid and regulation 15

Leave to appeal must be obtained where the appeal is under section 106(1) or section 175(2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

Criminal legal aid under regulation 15 of the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 1996 can be applied for online for all work required up to the completion of the sift process. You should select the appropriate work items from the list when completing the application. Any work not listed should be included under “other”.

There is no process for applying for our prior approval for under Regulation 15 so any request of this nature should also be included under “other”. Examples of such work include a request for senior counsel or senior and junior counsel to consult and to draft grounds of appeal. There are instances where a report from an expert may be required prior to drafting grounds of appeal.

You should provide details using the online notification system in the form of a message. Any request to instruct an expert should be accompanied by a copy of their quote. The usual requirements for comparative quotes where appropriate apply.

At any stage during the sift process you can request additional work items or approval using the online notification system. There is no process for backdating any grant of regulation 15 legal aid or for payment of any work certified or approved which was not covered by the grant.

As leave to appeal is entirely a matter for the court, we have no locus to consider any question relating to the merits of the appeal.

Appeals: timing of applications for legal aid for an appeal and information to be provided

An application for legal aid for an appeal should be made at the conclusion of the sift process, with necessary supporting documentation confirming that leave to appeal has been granted.

If a legal aid application is not made until some intermediate stage in the appeal process, we will accept the application and any grant of legal aid will be effective from the date of the grant until conclusion of the appeal. We cannot backdate the grant of legal aid for an appeal.

There is no restriction on the factors which may be taken into account by us in any particular case, and identifying, and evaluating the weight of relevant factors is at our discretion.

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