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Legal aid under review over police interviews

15 June 2010

Ministers are reviewing the legal aid rules for solicitors attending police stations in the wake of the new Crown Office guidelines to police officers, the Herald reports today.

The guidelines, which have not been published but whose existence the Crown announced on Friday, anticipate a decision by the UK Supreme Court, which is predicted to rule that the European Convention on Human Rights requires that a solicitor be present when a suspect is interviewed in a police station. At present the legal aid rules do not provide for payment to a solicitor attending at a police station if the suspect then nominates a different solicitor to act.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board said it had alerted the Government and ministers are understood to be reviewing the position. SLAB believes that a relatively small number of more serious cases are involved.

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