23 March 2023
On Friday 31 March 2023 sections 10 to 40 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 will be commenced.
These sections introduce two preventative orders which can be applied to relevant sex offenders and those who pose a risk of harm: Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs), and Sexual Risk Orders (SROs) respectively.
Advice and assistance, and civil legal aid will be available in respect of the new orders. We have retained the existing category codes. However, we will be updating the category descriptions for these category codes on the online system and on our website shortly.
Advice and assistance: the category code continues to be SOA (Sex Offenders Act).
Civil legal aid: you should use category code SOPO (Sexual offences prevention orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003), which you can continue to use for older cases covered by the transitional provisions, in addition to new cases under the Act.
When applying for civil legal aid your statutory statement should give details of the precise nature of the proceedings raised against the applicant so that we can provide proper intimation of the legal aid application to the opponent.
The new orders have a lower risk threshold than the old orders, allowing both orders to be used to manage risk against adults and vulnerable adults abroad, as well as children.
Also, their remit is wider, enabling, for example, foreign travel restrictions to be applied under either order.
The SHPO is a preventative order designed to protect the public from sexual harm. This order replaces Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO) and Foreign Travel Orders (FTO) provided for in sections 104, 105 and 114 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”).
The SHPO replaces SOPO and incorporates elements of FTO. The main differences between SHPO and SOPO are:
The SRO is a civil preventative order designed to protect the public from sexual harm, and unlike SHPOs there is no need for a previous conviction or equivalent.
The order will be available in Scotland and replaces the Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RSHO) provided for in sections 2 to 8 of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 and FTOs provided for in section 114 of the 2003 Act. The SRO replaces RSHO and incorporates elements of FTO.
The main differences between an SRO and an RSHO are:
If you have any questions about these changes please contact:
Wendy Dalgleish, Head of Civil and Children’s Legal Assistance
Kingsley Thomas, Head of Criminal Legal Assistance
18 January 2024
Following solicitor feedback we have introduced a simplified application process for legal aid applications for a Guardianship order under one of five sections