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Spotlight on: Legal
Citizens advice bureaux are a key part of the wider landscape of publicly funded legal advice, helping clients with thousands of legal issues each year and resolving thousands of issues before they reach the legal stage. Bureaux operate nine in-court advice projects across the country and represent clients at thousands of tribunals and court cases each year.
17 Mar 2021
by Derek Mitchell, CAS Chief Executive.
This article was first published in the Herald on 17 March 2020.
3 Mar 2021
by Sarah McDermott, Senior policy officer (Strong Communities team)
This article first appeared in the Herald on 3 March 2021.
26 Dec 2020
Citizens Advice Scotland has published its summary of advice issued for the last financial year.
Modernising Consumer Markets
Publication date: July 2018
CAS welcomes the Consumer Green Paper and a stronger push by the UK government for greater simplicity, transparency and fairness for those that purchase and use goods and services.
How to use bodies who deliver public services in Scotland
Publication date: May 2021
In 2016 Scotland was selected to join the Open Government Partnership (‘OGP’), an international collaboration of over 90 governments across the world committed to three key principles: openness, transparency and public involvement. As part of membership to this partnership programme, the Scottish Government, together with civic society partners, has developed recently been focused on delivering Scotland’s second National Action Plan 2018-20. A key commitment under this plan has been “to improve access to the accountability of public services”.
Supported by the Scottish Government and in collaboration with key partners to this commitment, CAS has produced a booklet explaining how to raise a concern or complaint about a public service in Scotland. It explains how to use public bodies like:
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
The Care Inspectorate
The Scottish Information Commissioner and
as well as providing more information on how to make Freedom of Information requests.
This booklet follows on from earlier research that CAS undertook on behalf of partners to the commitment, which sought to explore levels of understanding and awareness of members of the public of accountability of public services (hyperlinked here from CAS website) in Scotland. The research found low levels of knowledge of regulatory bodies. CAS hopes that by producing this booklet, we can provide clearer information on how the public can engage with public services in Scotland, particularly if they wish to raise a concern or question a decision. We hope that by providing this information we can generate greater awareness of the accountability bodies that operate in Scotland and enable people to engage more confidently with them.
Related work on Scotland's National Open Government Action Plan 2018-20: Commitment 4 Improving Access to Accountability of Public Services: Peoples & Stakeholder Engagement Final Report and Recommendations July 2020 is also available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-second-national-open-government-action-plan-2018-20-commitment-4-improving-access-accountability-public-services-public-stakeholder-engagement/
Citizens Advice Scotland response to a Scottish Government Consultation
Publication date: April 2021
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to a Scottish Government consultation, which proposes changes to the way complaints about legal professionals are handled. CAS broadly supports the proposals, but has concerns about proposed changes to the threshold for eligibility of complaints and about proposals which would affect when a complaint can be treated as closed without the complainer's agreement.
Citizens Advice Scotland response to a consultation by the Scottish Civil Justice Council
Publication date: April 2021
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to a consultation by the Scottish Civil Justice Council. The consultation sought views on recent Rule changes which made use of Civil Online Mandatory for Simple Procedure cases.
CAS's work on Access to Justice issues aims to ensure that consumers can access legal services and make effective and informed choices about legal issues. We support the development of new and simplified ways of accessing Court services. However, this must not come at the expense of channel choice. We have concerns that the Rule change may have had the effect of excluding party litigants and unrepresented people from the system. We would therefore support additional efforts to ensure inclusivity for those who are digitally excluded. We also have a number of wider suggestions to make in relation to potential reform of the Rules.