HC Deb 23 February 1999 vol 326 c226W
Mr. Maclennan

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the criteria he has applied(a) in selecting the areas in which solicitors will receive an enhanced fixed payment for summary criminal legal aid cases and (b) in determining the level of the enhanced payment. [71860]

Mr. McLeish

The criteria were chosen to reflect a combination of small numbers of cases dealt with and time taken to travel to the court.

The 15 Sheriff courts in Scotland with the lowest throughput of cases were therefore identified. Any courts which were less than 40 miles from the nearest other sheriff court and which could be reached without a sea crossing were eliminated from the list. The resultant list of courts for which an additional payment will be available is Campbeltown, Stornoway, Lockmaddy, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Oban, Portree, Lochgilphead and Rothesay Sheriff courts.

The additional fee of £50 was determined to provide reasonable remuneration to solicitors who have to represent clients in these courts. The Sheriff Court core fee has also been increased to £500 for all courts. From 1 July 1999 legal aid in Scotland will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.