About us

The Civil Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) is a network of three offices in Scotland that helps clients with civil legal problems. We cover four geographical areas. We do not deal with criminal law.

Who we are

We are solicitors and business support staff employed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board. Our team of solicitors includes five covering Highland and Islands, three covering Aberdeen, one covering Argyll and Bute, five covering Edinburgh, as well as two network trainee solicitors.

You can read about the work our solicitors do and their varied roles and locations on the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s website.

What we do

We aim to get better outcomes for people and contribute to wider objectives of the Scottish Government through:

  • the provision of legal casework
  • referring and signposting to other solicitors
  • working with other advice and support agencies.

We offer a different mix of casework in each area we cover in response to local conditions and other advice and legal providers in the geographical area. Our work is guided by our Business Plan, which is approved by the Scottish Legal Aid Board and agreed with the Scottish Government.

The Our Offices section gives details of the types of legal work done in each area.

Who do we help?

We can only provide assistance to people who are eligible for civil legal assistance.

We only work in four areas of Scotland and cover specific legal problems in each area.

What if we can’t take your case? Please see information on what happens if we can’t take your case.

How will we use your data?

You can find full details in our Privacy Notice.

What to do if you have a complaint about the Civil Legal Assistance Office?

We have a complaints procedure in place.


The Civil Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) was set up in 2008.

CLAO solicitors and support staff are employed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) as framed by Part V provisions of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986.

The commencement of Part V of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act in 2001 paved the way for the provision of civil legal assistance by solicitors directly employed by SLAB. Before then, civil legal assistance was available generally only through solicitors in private practice and law centres.

The Part V service became known as the Civil Legal Assistance Office in 2009.

CLAO's service mix

  • Casework
  • Referral and signposting to other providers of legal assistance and support
  • Second tier support to other providers (including training)
  • Partnership/development project working with local and national organisations operating in the defined geographical areas.