Legal Aid Lawyers
Legal Aid FAQ
What is Scottish Legal Aid?
Legal Aid is funded by the British Taxpayer and acts as a safety net to provide funding to pay for a lawyer to act in situations where a person is facing criminal allegations and is not in a financial position to pay for the cost of legal representation.
Scottish Legal Aid for Police Station Interviews.
In Scotland, free legal advice is available to everyone in custody. So if you are arrested or asked to attend a police interview with the police you have the right to arrange for a solicitor to attend and you will not be required pay for his attendance at your interview.
This is automatic and Graham Walker Solicitors Carlton Place office will deal with the application. You will not need to vouch for your income or provide wage slips.
Scottish Legal Aid for Court Appearances
Legal aid is available if who are charged and have to appear in court. You have the right to asked for a lawyer of your choice to be contacted, otherwise, the court will appoint the duty lawyer to represent you at your initial appearance in court. Graham Walker Solicitors are registered to provide Legal Aid and appear daily in courts all over Scotland for their clients. If you ever find yourself in custody and you request us to act on your behalf we will arrange for a solicitor to attend the police station to look after your interests. On many occasions simply following the advice given by our solicitors has resulted in the case going no further due to lack of evidence.
Remember what you say in an interview can be used in court against you. Many people have been convicted of offences because they gave the necessary evidence in their interview that the police may have been lacking. So always have a lawyer contacted, it will cost you nothing and may save from the damage you might do to your case before it has even reached the courts.
How do I get Legal Aid for My Trial?
There are two hurdles you have to overcome to qualify for legal aid if you plead not guilty and intend to go to trial.
The first hurdle to overcome is whether it is ‘in the interests of justice’ that you are legally represented. The more serious the charge the more likely you are to satisfy this requirement.
Criminal legal aid also depends on your financial circumstances. If the cost of the case would cause you or your dependents ‘undue’ hardship, then you are more likely to be given legal aid.
How Do I apply for Legal Aid?
To apply for legal aid, you’ll need to find a solicitor who is registered to do legal aid work. Graham Walker Solicitors are registered for Criminal Legal Aid and we can be contacted on any of the numbers on this webpage for immediate advice. We’ll talk you through your options, let you know if you’re likely to get legal aid and help you with the application process.
Criminal legal assistance can include advice and assistance and criminal legal aid. The help you can get will depend on:
- the seriousness of the charges you face
- whether you are in custody
- whether you plan to plead guilty or not guilty
Advice and assistance may just be advice from us about your case, or it may be advice from us if you are a suspect in a police station or in some cases we will also be able to act for you in court.
This may be free or you may have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your case. The amount will depend on your income and savings or property you own.
Criminal legal aid is only available after you have pled not guilty, or in more serious cases, when you first appear in court.
If you qualify for criminal legal aid it is always free. You will not have to pay anything towards the cost of the case. We will help you to apply for legal aid.
When Should I contact a Legal Aid Lawyer?
If you have been arrested and have been taken into custody, and you wish us to attend the police station, simply advise the police of our Firm’s name, Graham Walker Solicitors. Our contact details are on the police computer system and we are contactable 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week.
If you are contacted by the police to attend a police interview, simply phone our 24 Hour number for immediate advice. Where necessary we will arrange for one of our experienced criminal lawyers to attend the police station.
Where you have been charged with a crime or crimes, and have been released to appear in court at a later date, if you have not already contacted us the sooner you do the better.
Where you have received a letter telling you to go to court to face criminal charges, contact us when you get the letter.
Finally, if you can have been served with a fixed penalty and you want to go to court to challenge this, the sooner you contact us the better.
Financial Eligibility for Legal Aid
You must provide us with information about your income, savings and children or other people you are supporting. You may also have to give information about a partner if they live with you. You should provide us with any information as soon as possible. Examples of what you may have to provide include some of the following:
- bank statements, recent wage slips or if you are self-employed your accounts
- pension payment advice from an ex-employer, pension or benefit book
- current benefits award letters or notifications for assistance
- copy statements of your savings or current accounts you have with your bank, building society or post office.
If you are accused in a solemn case, you are automatically entitled to legal aid while you are in custody, until:
- a decision is made about whether to grant you legal aid
- you are given bail.
Criminal legal aid is usually granted in the following cases:
- if you are likely to go to prison if convicted
- if you are likely to lose your job if convicted
- if you cannot follow what is happening in the trial because of mental or physical disability
- if you do not speak English as a first language
- if you have been remanded in custody pending a trial
- if you intend to appeal against a decision of the court.
Graham Walker Solicitors are here to help with any questions you may have about applying for Legal Aid. Call us now on any of the helpline numbers on this webpage for free expert advice on your eligibility.
I was interviewed at Kilmarnock Police station and it did not cost me a bean! I did not have to show wage slips or fill out any forms.
I had £1800 in savings when I applied for Legal Aid from SLAB. I was worried I would have to pay for my trial, however it was dealt with when I visited the office at Carlton Place, Glasgow City Centre.
I thought legal aid came from the Law Society of Scotland, however I found out after speaking with Matthew Berlow criminal lawyer at Graham Walker Solicitors, that this is run by SLAB (Scottish Legal Aid Board)