New guidance to support launch of updated applicant equality questions

We are updating our applicant equality monitoring questions from 1 October to ensure they are the most relevant and proportionate to the services we provide.
Benefits of collecting equality data
The revised questions are part of significant changes being made to Legal Aid Online (LAOL) as part of our upgrade programme. A separate update with full details of the changes to the online system and training videos will be sent to you shortly.

To accompany the new questions we have produced guidance to support solicitors in gathering their clients’ equalities data.

We hope you will work with us to improve the collection of equality data as the equality data provided in response to these questions will:

  • bring benefits to your firm and help meet your clients’ needs
  • give us the data we need to make important decisions about the legal aid system
  • help us design and deliver our services to people who apply for legal aid.

Solicitors who are successful in getting client responses to the equality monitoring questions told us that people are generally happy to answer them:

“In our experience, when it is explained, people understand the importance of key organisations having robust equality data and are happy to provide this. As an access to justice organisation, we rely on data to know where there are gaps in access and where to target our services and resources. It is even more important for the Scottish Legal Aid Board to have this at their disposal.”

Using the feedback from our client legal services and from external solicitors, we have published the following material to be used with the new equality monitoring questions from 1 October:

From 1 October the equality questions and responses will be on the declaration forms, removing the need for a separate equalities card. The questions and response fields on the forms match those in Legal Aid Online. The existing forms will be replaced on 1 October.

The updated questions are based on the Scottish census 2022. They cover age, sex, disability, race (national identity and ethnic group) and care experience.

More information

Contact us at or on 0131 226 7061 for more information or to discuss our approach to equality monitoring.

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