Withdrawal of the Fife Drug Court

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013

SLAB has been advised that the special Fife Drug Court pilot ended on the 30 November 2013, and from that day onwards, all Drug Court Orders will be converted to Drug Treatment and Testing Orders and proceed in the way that they do in other courts around the country.

As such, the previous arrangements for legal aid which were in place for the Fife Drug Court have now been reviewed.

From 1 December 2013, all new cases for Drug Treatment and Testing Order will need to be covered by a fresh grant of ABWOR for these DTTO hearings. ABWOR can be made available for DTTO proceedings under regulation 4(h) of the Advice and Assistance (ABWOR) (Scotland) Regulations 2003, as amended.

This allows for ABWOR to be made available in relation to variation, revocation or review of a drug treatment or testing order or any failures to comply with the requirements of such an order. The client needs to be financially eligible, but there are no other tests to be applied here. Payment for these cases is on a time and line basis.

SLAB understands that there may be on-going cases which commenced in the Fife Drug Court, and which will be transferred to the DTTO procedures. In these cases, the existing form of legal aid must end at the end of November, and any on-going proceedings can only be covered by a fresh grant of regulation 4 ABWOR. Any Drug Court cases which commenced under automatic Drug Court legal aid cannot carry on under that grant of legal aid once the Drug Court ceased to be in existence.

In addition, any cases considered by the Drug Court where fixed fee summary criminal or fixed fee ABWOR had been made available must also end on 30 November. These grants of legal aid cannot continue for any new DTTO proceedings as these proceedings are separate and distinct, with a different payment regime.

For more information please contact Kingsley Thomas, Manager of Criminal Legal Assistance, on thomaski@slab.org.uk or 0131 240 2085.

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