Mark Thorley, Solicitor Provides Expertise to Scottish Legal Aid Payment Review Panel


Mark Thorley, Solicitor and head of the family law and reparation department at Thorley Stephenson SSC, has received thanks from the Scottish Government for his contribution to the Legal Aid Payment Review Panel.

Mark has contributed valuable insight from his extensive experience and expertise in criminal, reparation and family law . Mark is also the convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Civil Legal Aid Team and was nominated by the former President of the Law Society of Scotland to sit on this panel.

The Legal Aid Payment Review Panel was set up following a recommendation from Martyn Evans in the Independent Strategic Review of Legal Aid. The Panel was asked to assess and agree on an evidence guided process that would act as the basis for a future review of payment structures and fee levels for legal services, provided by solicitors and advocates to assisted persons.

As part of the process, panel members, including Mark Thorley, were required to:

  • Examine the existing framework for payment of solicitors and advocates, in order to create an optimal legislative framework for the future
  • Identify short-term improvements that could be implemented right away to address problems with rates of fees and payments prior to a new Bill taking effect
  • Carry out a comparison and analysis of our existing fee structures with those in other jurisdictions and in other areas of policy
  • Consider models and means for ensuring supply of services, such as service level agreements (SLAs), alternative fee agreements, fee weighting and panels.

The panel produced a report to Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham. The Minister wrote a letter of thanks to Mark Thorley, detailing that she will be acting on the recommendations made to build an evidence guided process of review for legal aid payments. She said: 

“It is evident that there will be no simple route to reform however the work carried out by yourself and the other panel members will help provide the necessary foundations for real change in the way legal aid is approached.”

Mark Thorley during a recent interview for leading Scottish legal online community at HeyLegal, discussing recruiting and retraining trainee solicitors in a legal aid law firm. Click here for the full video.

Note from our Editors:-

Given the current legal aid crisis and continued cost of living issues, we’ve started a new FREE LEGAL ADVICE page within our top lawyers directory with the mission of showcasing and championing those providers, university law clinics, law firms and lawyers and others who provide free legal advice and pro bono assistance (starting with the UK, and with initial pages of accessible legal support providers in other parts of the world – in addition to free legal advice providers in the UK, we’ve listed free legal advice providers in Canadafree legal advice providers in Australia and free legal advice providers in the United States too).

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