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Background Info

The current procedures for accessing legal aid are confusing, particularly in relation to the discretionary powers available to Scottish Ministers. People should have a right to a fair hearing and in some instances this might require access to legal aid. Scottish Ministers have discretionary powers in exceptional circumstances to determine whether a person may access legal aid – but these powers and circumstances aren’t clearly defined, which could leave it open to misapplication which was not what the law was intended to do in a democratic country.