Legal Aid

Criminal Legal Aid

Legal Aid is a vital component of Scotland's justice system. The provision of Legal Aid ensures that people who are otherwise unable to afford legal representation obtain access to justice.

Legal Aid is met through public funds. Applications for Legal Aid are administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB), based in Edinburgh.

Will I Qualify for Legal Aid?

If you are facing prosecution in a Court in Scotland, you may qualify for funding of legal costs (often in their entirety) under the Legal Aid scheme. Applications are made through solicitors who are registered to provide Criminal Legal Assistance by SLAB. Mailers is a firm registered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Any application for Legal Aid will be determined by two tests:
  • The interests of justice
  • The applicant's financial position

Interests of Justice

This simply refers to the seriousness of the case. The vast majority of cases prosecuted in the Sheriff Court will meet the interests of justice test. On the other hand, you may not qualify for Legal Aid if you face prosecution for a relatively minor road traffic offence in the Justice of the Peace Court.

If you have any questions about whether you might get Legal Aid, you should contact our office. We will give you free guidance about your eligibility.

Financial position

In terms of financial position, any application for Legal Aid must be supported by information about an applicant's income and expenditure; usually, a recent bank statement is sufficient. It is for the solicitor to complete the application on the basis of the information you provide.

If I am working, will I get Legal Aid?

Do not assume that if you are working, you will not qualify for Legal Aid. If you are in employment, you may still be eligible for funding, depending on the overall picture presented by your finances; the Scottish Legal Aid Board will take into account your family circumstances, housing costs, tax credits, debts and other factors.

Can I get Legal Aid if I want to plead Guilty?

Legal Aid can be made available even where a person wishes to plead guilty to a charge at an early stage in the case. In this situation you may qualify for 'Advice By Way Of Representation' (ABWOR). Under this scheme, you can engage a solicitor to represent you in Court who will be paid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.


Civil Legal Aid

Examples of civil cases:

  • divorce and other matters affecting families and children
  • trying to get compensation for injuries after an accident or for medical negligence
  • housing matters such as rent or mortgage arrears, repairs and eviction
  • debt and welfare rights
  • matters relating to immigration, nationality and asylum
  • adults with incapacity - guardianship and intervention orders
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, a 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. We will give you free guidance about your eligibility.

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. We will give you free guidance about your eligibility.

Contact Us

whatever your problem, we are here to help


While this website attempts to cover the areas of law most commonly encountered by our clients, we are always happy to discuss other issues and provide advice or referrals where necessary. Contact us by telephone or e-mail to arrange an appointment for prompt attention on any matter.

Whatever your problem we are here to help.

Office Locations

Mailers, Stirling
Jubilee House, Forthside Way, Stirling FK8 1QZ

Mailers, Alloa
70 Drysdale Street, Alloa FK10 1JA

Mailers, Bridge of Allan
88 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, FK9 4HA

Office hours

Mon-Fri: 9.00 - 5.00pm

Sat-Sun: Closed
appointments outwith office hours or at your home or office may be available by arrangement.