§ Lord Macaulay of Bragar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
(a) what provisions are made for considering applications for legal aid in cases where the Scottish Legal Aid Board is itself a party to litigation; (b) if no such provisions presently exist, what proposals Her Majesty's Government have to ensure that such applications will be considered by an agency other than the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and (c) whether any such applications have been considered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board and, if so, whether legal aid was granted or refused by the board.
§ Lord Sanderson of Bowden
There is at present no provision whereby an application for legal aid in a case where the Scottish Legal Aid Board is itself a party to the litigation is to be determined by any body other than the board itself. However the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill provides that the method of reviewing a refusal of legal aid, in a case where the board itself is the opponent, will be by the board referring the application for review to the sheriff at Edinburgh for determination. The board will be obliged to give effect to the sheriff's determination.
Since it came into being on 1st April 1987, the board has considered 16 cases in which it was the opponent; all related to its disposal of an earlier application for legal aid. The board granted legal aid in four of these cases and refused the others for want of probabilis causa.