Consultation to be carried out on Outlays

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014

SLAB has been working on a number of savings programmes with Scottish Government, the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates.

The Legal Aid Fund pays for the costs of cases which meet the statutory tests. These costs include the costs of experts and other outlays incurred to progress civil, criminal and children’s cases.
The fund currently spends in the region of £19 million per annum on outlays in criminal, civil and children’s cases.
Savings have already been made by reducing the cost to the Fund of travel by experts/professionals and to reduce the cost of interpreters and translators. This has produced a saving of £0.2 million in outlays per annum.
We have been working with the Law Society of Scotland on various proposals to help control spending on outlays and we have been modeling some of their proposals.
In making savings our aim is that funding on outlays is focused on those cases which need experts and other outlays to properly progress the case and maximise the value of legal aid expenditure, without impacting on access to justice.
Psychologists, psychiatrists and GP/medical reports currently cost the Fund around £3.3 per annum. Within that there is huge disparity in the cost charged against the Fund to produce similar types of reports. Some of these costs can be standardised.
We will be consulting with the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty and the relevant professional bodies on a range of options to reduce costs across different types of cases, including reports accompanying applications for orders for Adults with Incapacity and disputes concerning children. A consultation will be launched in December.  
For more information, please contact Graeme Hill, Director of Corporate Services and Accounts:

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