THE Law Society of Scotland has criticised the Scottish Parliament’s passing of the Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance (Scotland) Bill, and reiterated its members stance that problems will be caused for solicitors who will be required to collect contributions from their clients, a function which should be clearly undertaken by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Commenting on the passing of The Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance (Scotland) Bill, by the Scottish Parliament today, convener of the Law Society of Scotland's criminal legal aid negotiating team, Ian Moir said: "We are disappointed that the Bill has passed without introducing a central collection system. This will cause problems as solicitors attempt to collect contributions from their clients and could have been resolved by the Scottish Legal Aid Board collecting in all cases.
"However, the Society's team which negotiated with the Scottish Government did achieve some key improvements. Some of the poorest people accused of a crime may not have to make a contribution now, including war veterans and disabled people on low incomes. The negotiating team also persuaded the government to remove police station advice and cases involving remand or custodial sentences from the contributions system, and that the threshold increases would not be funded by solicitors."