“Do you do legal aid at Grigor & Young?”
We received this question recently via email and realised that, up to now, there has not been any single place on this website where we discuss the situations in which we will take cases on under legal aid.
Civil legal aid
We don’t have any solicitors who deal with criminal work, though there are many criminal law solicitors available within Moray and, as far as we are aware, without exception, they all take on criminal cases under legal aid, where applicable. The eligibility criteria for criminal legal aid are different than for civil legal aid.
We can only offer legal aid under the civil advice and assistance and civil legal aid schemes operated by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Personal injury claims and medical negligence
We have solicitors who are accredited specialists in personal injury law and we are happy to take on cases of personal injury or potential medical negligence with the benefit of civil legal aid. For personal injury cases, we will take claims on “no-win-no fee” if reasonable prospects exist and you do not qualify for legal aid. In the case of medical negligence, given the fact that it is generally necessary to obtain a report from an appropriate medical expert before the claim can get off the ground, in many cases, it is only practicable for us to take the case on if you qualify for legal aid.
In most areas of law where we are prepared to take on cases under civil legal aid, we would impose a geographical restriction (see, for example, the comments below under the heading “Guardianship applications”). In relation to personal injury, we have experience of dealing with cases in sheriff courts throughout the whole of the North of Scotland and so we are able to consider taking on cases throughout the whole of the Sheriffdom of Grampian Highland and Islands under legal aid.
We do not generally take cases on under legal aid. However, through Moray Employment Law, we can offer a reasonably-priced fixed cost option, which is a cost-effective way to obtain initial advice on the prospects of success and make a decision from there as to how best to proceed.
We do not generally take Family law cases on under legal aid. This includes divorce, and child residence/contact.
There are special rules for financial eligibility in relation to some applications to the court where an adult has become incapacitated and needs someone else to look after their affairs. Where the application would be made to Elgin Sheriff Court (usually dependent upon the place of residence of the incapacitated adult), we can provide advice and are able to take Guardianship cases on under civil legal aid.
So, for example, if it appeared that the relevant court for the application was, say, Inverness or Banff, we would almost certainly recommend that you consult a solicitor based within the jurisdiction of the particular court. This has the benefit for you that the source that will be very familiar with the workings of the court and, as the margins for civil legal aid work are often tight, a local solicitor is more likely to find it financially viable to take on the case.
In other types of case, we are sometimes prepared to take work on under legal aid but this is very much on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon our level of capacity and pressure of other business.
As indicated above, the economics of legal aid are such (for cases other than personal injury) but it is not viable for us to deal with matters if they would have to go to a court elsewhere than Elgin.
How we can help
If you have a question about any matter raised by this article or about any situation in which you wonder if we could take on business for you under civil legal aid, please get in touch with us. You can call on 01343 544077 or send us a Free Online Enquiry. All initial enquiries are free of charge and without obligation.