The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has cocked a snook at the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, by asserting that his headline grabbing proposal to withdraw legal aid from personal injury cases "would not appear necessary".
In its response to Scottish Office proposals to reform civil justice in Scotland, the board claims that since legal aid is largely self-financing in personal injury cases it should not be withdrawn. It also suggests that the contributions which many applicants have to pay to get legal aid should be reduced to encourage a greater uptake of offers.
SLAB chief executive Richard Scott said: "Contributions should return to the more realistic levels of 1993." He added that the board wanted to co-ordinate a community legal service and employ its own lawyers in advice centres
Vicki Chapman of the Legal Action Group welcomed the board's outspokenness on the issue.