Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Beatrice Wishart has today welcomed the suggestion from the Scottish Government to look at geographical inequalities that exist for people seeking legal aid, but warned that immediate action is needed to support those in the islands who are currently seeking legal aid assistance.
In the Scottish Parliament this afternoon the Shetland MSP asked the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP to consider legal aid rules that prevent those in the islands from having the same access to legal aid assistance as those on the mainland.
Mr Yousaf suggested the issue could be consulted on in the course of upcoming changes to legal aid legislation, and further committed to consider whether interim fixes could be found.
Commenting Ms Wishart said:
“People in the islands get a poor deal when it comes to legal aid assistance and this has been a longstanding issue. Domestic abuse survivors are forced to look to the mainland for legal aid services, while other constituents tell me they have given up important civil appeal opportunities because of the barriers to legal aid access.
“I welcome that the Scottish Government has shown a willingness to work with me on this issue. Action is needed more urgently to make sure that those in need of legal aid are not left disadvantaged purely because they live in the islands.”