What we do
The Scottish Legal Aid Board was set up in 1987 to manage legal aid in Scotland. We are a non-departmental public body responsible to the Scottish Government.
For more information go to Our work.
Purpose of legal aid
The purpose of legal aid in Scotland is to provide access to justice for those people who are unable to pay for it on their own.
By providing people with access to assistance and representation at difficult times in their lives, we contribute to the Scottish Government’s Purpose to deliver a more successful Scotland with opportunities for everyone.
Legal aid in Scotland provides a vital service to people, many of them vulnerable, who would not otherwise be able to pursue or defend their rights, or fund their defence. Legal aid can make an important difference to people at difficult times in their lives. For example, it can help people maintain their financial security, keep their jobs or prevent unfair dismissal, or help remove them from the dangers of domestic abuse. By doing this, legal aid helps to prevent wider social problems such as people slipping into poverty. It therefore improves people's lives and helps Scotland become a more successful place.
Legal aid is also an important element of the wider criminal justice system and by providing publicly funded legal assistance to those accused of crimes, legal aid helps the criminal justice system to operate fairly. An effective and efficient system of legal aid helps cases to be processed through the courts as quickly as possible.
Our strategic aims are:
To provide access to a range of quality assured legal help in Scotland, when and where it is needed
To obtain best value for the tax payer through delivery of efficient legal assistance services in Scotland
To contribute to an efficient justice system in Scotland by providing an efficient legal aid system
Through the achievement of these aims, we contribute to the achievements of the Scottish Government’s Purpose and National Outcomes.