The Scottish Government Resilience and Recovery Fund for Legal Aid is now open for applications. The fund is designed to support law centres and legal aid firms struggling due to the impact on business caused by COVID-19.
The fund aims to provide firms with the additional income they could have reasonably expected, had it not been for the Coronavirus pandemic impacting on new business.
You can read more about the grant here on the Scottish Government website.
Amanda Millar, President of the Law Society of Scotland said:
“We are pleased to see the launch of the £9m COVID resilience fund for legal aid firms which have suffered most from a loss of business over the last year.
“The legal aid sector was already under significant pressure, even before COVID hit. The sudden drop in court cases because of the pandemic meant many legal aid firms could have been lost, risking an access to justice crisis for many of the most vulnerable in our society. I am pleased the Cabinet Secretary responded so positively to our call for action and came forward with a substantial £20 million support package, including this COVID resilience fund.
Is my firm eligible?
According to information provided by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, a firm will be eligible where:
- The firm has been active in providing legal aid over the period 19 March 2020 to 24 January 2021
- The firm has been generating at least 20% of its business turnover from legal aid income before the Covid-19 pandemic
- The firm will continue to offer legal aid services to the public operating in the legal aid sector post Covid.
Applications for assistance must be made by 31 March 2021 you can make an application through the SLAB application form.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“Scotland’s legal profession has worked extremely hard since the COVID-19 outbreak to help maintain access to justice services. I’m pleased we are in a position to provide this significant financial backing to those in the legal aid sector facing financial difficulties.”
“We recognise the important contribution legal aid makes towards tackling inequalities across Scotland – helping vulnerable people deal with issues such as debt, housing, and mental health, as well as providing a defence against criminal charges. It is to society’s benefit that Scotland has a strong legal aid system, ensuring that an individual’s rights are protected while supporting the rule of law.”