What you need to know
There are two kinds of legal aid help
Advice and assistance
This helps pay for advice from a solicitor on any matter of Scots law, civil or criminal – for example, to try to settle a dispute for you without going to court. As well as advising you about the matter you have raised, your solicitor can:
- Advise you on whether you have a legal case to take forward
- Try to negotiate with the other party to settle it
- Advise you whether to apply for legal aid to take the matter to court
- Write letters for you or get medical or expert reports.
- Apply on your behalf for civil legal aid
You have to qualify financially for advice and assistance and you may need to pay a contribution towards the cost of the work done for you. If you win or keep money in your case, you may have to pay up to the full cost of the work done for you.
Only a solicitor can grant advice and assistance.
Civil legal aid
This helps pay for your solicitor to act for you in court. It covers the preparation work, as well as the hearing itself, and can provide funding for advocates and experts if needed.
You have to qualify financially for civil legal aid and you may need to pay a contribution towards the cost of your case.If you win or keep money in your case, you may have to pay up to the full cost of the work done for you.
Only a solicitor can apply for civil legal aid on your behalf.
Some people need only advice and assistance, others need only legal aid, and some need both. Many people start the legal process with advice and assistance, and then move on to legal aid. If you do not qualify for advice and assistance, you may still qualify for legal aid, and vice versa – ask your solicitor about this.
Find out more
To find out more about the kinds of cases that qualify for civil legal aid, and about the financial eligibility tests for civil legal aid and advice and assistance, go to the Eligibility page.
There is more information here on how to find a solicitor or other organisations who can provide advice.