Legal assistance handbooks
The legal assistance handbooks contain all our current guidance. The latest editions are available, free of charge, online and we regularly update them.
They are the key reference material for the legal aid professional. Each handbook includes:
- information about registering to provide different types of legal assistance and quality assurance
- all our policies on applications, and practical advice covering all stages of a case, including
- applying for, and providing, advice and assistance and ABWOR, and our approach to different types of case
- applying for, and providing, legal aid, and our approach to different types of case
- procedures after legal aid is granted – for example, the requirements for sanction for certain types of work, reporting procedures, amendments to grants or changes in circumstances
- clawback and expenses in civil cases
- a section on legal aid for contempt of court
- guidance on accounts
- all current legal aid legislation, as amended, relating to that type of legal assistance
- an easy-to-use contents list and search service.
Legislation and schedules of fees
A separate handbook contains all Scottish legal aid legislation, including schedules of fees, as most recently amended.
The most up-to-date source of information on legal aid
We issue regular updates to the handbooks throughout the year, to reflect changes in legislation, our guidance and to provide information that helps with day to day working practices, such as how to complete our application forms.
The handbooks support our move from paper to providing all our services through Legal Aid Online.
If you need to refer back to an earlier version of one of the handbooks, all previous versions are available in our handbook archive section.
Other publications, not included in the handbooks, for use by providers of legal assistance
Other publications you will need to refer to, which are not in the handbooks, are:
You may also find it useful to refer to Scottish legislation from the OPSI site. The site contains the full text of all Acts of the Scottish Parliament, the Explanatory Notes to the Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Statutory Instruments. However, for legal aid legislation, the simplest way to find the up-to-date amended versions of all legislation is to refer to the online legal assistance handbooks (see above).