Handbooks Index

Criminal Legal Assistance Handbook - Introduction

This Handbook (completely revised in April 2010) contains guidance to the legal profession about advice and assistance and legal aid for solemn and summary criminal matters.

As it is intended mainly for solicitors, where we use the term “you”, this means the solicitor acting in a legal aid case.

The guidance and legislation now includes all the changes made by the commencement of sections 64, 65 and 72 of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, and the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010, all coming into force on 25 November 2010.

The legislation also includes:

* Amendments to the Act (a new section 8A) made by the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 2010, which came into force on 30 October 2010.

* Amendments made by the Criminal Legal Assistance (Fees) (No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 to regulation 4 of the fixed payment regulations, the Criminal Legal Assistance (Fees and Information etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, and schedule 2 of the advice and assistance regulations. These apply only in relation to a case where criminal legal assistance is first provided to the assisted person at a police station on or after 30 September 2010 and allow solicitors an increased, or in certain circumstances an additional, fee for providing advice and assistance between 2200 hours and 0700 hours to a person who is being detained under section 14(1) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (“the 1995 Act”) or who is not being so detained but is nevertheless at a police station for the purposes of questioning.

* Amendments made to the criminal fees regulations (including the new Schedule 1, Fees of solicitors) and the fixed payments regulations with effect from 5 July 2010.


The handbook is divided into eight parts, comprising:

  1. Guidance on registering to give criminal legal assistance, compliance with the Code of practice relating to criminal legal assistance, and quality assurance

  2. A summary of the steps involved in providing criminal legal assistance

  3. Guidance on all aspects of applying for advice and assistance and legal aid, and procedures after a grant or refusal

  4. Guidance on legal aid in contempt of court proceedings

  5. Guidance on fixed payment accounts

  6. Guidance on detailed accounts – at present, this is a link to the 2000 Criminal Accounts Assessment Manual, but new guidance will be issued when new legislation comes into force shortly

  7. How to contact the Board or complain about our service

  8. The Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 and legislation relating to criminal advice and assistance, legal aid and contempt of court, as amended at 9 June 2010

Click here to find out about changes made to the handbook since the beginning of April 2010.

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