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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-01770

Date lodged: 23 July 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government how much of the £9 million COVID-19 resilience fund for the legal profession has been allocated, and how many applications to the fund have (a) been approved, (b) yet to be processed and (c) have been rejected, broken down by reasons for rejection.

Current status: Answered by Ash Denham on 18 August 2021


Answer

The Scottish Government has awarded grants totalling £2,235,789 from the Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund for Legal Aid (CRRF). Applications from 84 firms and law centres have been approved and 1 grant is pending subject to a recalculation of award, which is now in the process of being concluded.

The total number of applicants who did not meet the criteria for funding is 195 and is broken down into the following categories:

1. The applicant’s legal aid income did not meet the criteria – 22 applications.

2. No shortfall in applicant’s income was calculated compared with casework prior to pandemic, against the criteria for funding – 124 applications.

3. Applicants demonstrated no shortfall in expected fee income, against the criteria for funding, and have been or will be paid other forms of government support in excess of this sum - 49 applications.

Scottish Ministers made a commitment to keep the CRRF under review and have worked in collaboration with the Law Society for Scotland, the Bar Associations and the Scottish Solicitors’ Bar Association on the co-design and eligibility criteria of a new fund.

An announcement by the Scottish Government was made on 4 August 2021 to launch a new £6.7 million Legal Aid Business Support and Recovery Fund, in support of the Government’s Renew, Recover and Transform Programme which aims to deliver a wide range of measures in recognition of the important role in the Justice system of vital legal aid services in Scotland as we emerge and recover from the pandemic.