The following information for advisors and advice agencies is available on this page. We are happy to deal with any further queries if you Contact Us.

If you are a member of the public residing in Edinburgh and the Lothians click here.

What agencies can use CLAO Edinburgh services?

Our services are potentially available to any third sector advice or support agency located in Edinburgh and the Lothians involved in assisting the public on any of a wide range of matters, where civil legal issues arise and the client may need advice and representation from a solicitor. The nature and level of assistance we can give depends on the agency and the subject matter arising.

We work with a wide range of agencies, but before we start to provide any assistance we do require to establish with an agency what, if any, level and forms of assistance we can provide. That assistance will differ from one agency to another. Once that is established through your agency/service manager, we can then assist in accordance with that arrangement on an on-going basis. Your agency/service manager will be able to let you know whether your agency has arrangements with us. If your agency does not have an arrangement with CLAO Edinburgh your service manager should contact us as we can link your agency up to our services through one phone call. We currently work with:

  • Edinburgh Housing Advice Partnership
  • Community Housing Advice Initiative
  • Granton Information Centre
  • Foursquare
  • West Lothian In Court Advice Project
  • Haddington In Court Advice Project
  • Edinburgh Sheriff Court In Court Advice
  • Area Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Cyrenians
  • Edinburgh Advice Shop
  • West Lothian Advice Shop
  • Streetwork
  • Shelter

What services can CLAO Edinburgh provide? 

ADVICE ON LEGAL ISSUES - we call this “second tier advice”

CLAO Edinburgh solicitors give advisors information and guidance on legal issues and on-going support so that the advisor can resolve the matter themselves without the client needing a solicitor . (Please note that this service is only available to certain agency/advice providers. To ascertain whether your agency can access this particular service then please contact CLAO Edinburgh).


CLAO Edinburgh solicitors provide information and analysis of relevant legal issues, important developments in relevant areas of law and answers to ‘frequently asked questions’. (Please note that this service is only available to certain agency/advice providers. To ascertain whether your agency can access this particular service then please contact CLAO Edinburgh)


CLAO Edinburgh will make referrals to local firms of solicitors on your client’s behalf to attempt to place their case with a local firm of legal aid solicitors.


Where a local legal aid lawyer cannot take the case or the case is extremely urgent (i.e with an imminent court/eviction date), a CLAO Edinburgh solicitor will determine whether they can directly case work the matter. We can help with a wide range of civil legal issues but we focus on mortgage repossessions, debt, tenancy evictions, homelessness and housing problems, employment and money problems, and we have considerable experience dealing with clients with vulnerabilities or support needs. We work with clients alongside money and benefits advisors and support workers to ensure the  client has the best combination of advice and support to resolve the matter.


CLAO Edinburgh solicitors provide training on legal issues that is tailored to non-legally qualified advisors and representatives and enables them to deal with legal issues that arise in their own cases. Advisors can contact CLAO Edinburgh at any stage. Wherever possible however, advisers should contact as soon as an issue arises. The earlier contact is made, the more likely it is that we can successfully intervene or assist to help the client. In some rare cases, the client contacts too late and there may simply not be time for the necessary legal work to be done before the legal deadline. Even here however, advisors are encouraged to contact CLAO Edinburgh for advice and confirmation that there are no further steps that may be taken.

How do I contact CLAO Edinburgh?

See Contact Us. Please contact between the hours of  10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm Monday to Friday. You may not be able to speak with one of the solicitors outwith those hours. If there is no one available to take your call you can leave a message on the answering machine. If you leave accurate contact and availability details we will return your call. If the matter is urgent then please confirm this at the outset so that work can be prioritised accordingly.

What legal issues can CLAO Edinburgh help with?

You can contact us about any Scottish civil legal matter as long as long your client lives in Edinburgh or the Lothians. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to deal with all inquiries and there are areas of law beyond our knowledge and experience, but we should be able to help with most issues especially under the general heading of social welfare law topics. If the matter is outwith our expertise we will use CLAO resources to provide guidance and/or direct you to an expert local lawyer who may be able to assist. If you want us to find a solicitor for the client, then the client must be eligible for legal aid.

How do I work out if my client is eligible for legal aid?

Bear in mind that in most cases, most clients will be eligible for some form of legal aid. Please see Are You Eligible for more information. To discuss things in more detail, you can Contact Us, or the Scottish Legal Aid Board on 0131 226 7061.

We recommend that advisors should always ask CLAO Edinburgh or SLAB to assess whether clients are eligible for legal aid.

What information do I have to provide when I call to refer a case?

Advisors must be able to provide the following information. All data is held by us in accordance with the legal requirements. We are not able to provide assistance on an anonymous basis. In second-tier enquiries (only):

  • Adviser’s name and contact details and availability
  • Adviser’s consent to us holding adviser information
  • Identify if it is an urgent matter
  • All court dates/deadlines in relation to the legal issue 

For an inquiry where the the client is or may be referred to us, in addtion we also require

  • The client’s name and contact details
  • You to confirm you hold client’s consent to us holding client information (until such time as we or another service provider gets that consent direct)

It is helpful if you can also provide details of client’s household income and financial position but this is not essential as we will look to speak directly to your client.

What happens when my client is given a CLAO Edinburgh appointment?

If the case is not urgent, we will send an appointment letter to the client.  If the client misses the appointment and does not arrange another, we do not as a matter of course notify the referring agency.   If you wish to follow up on whether the client has attended, you will need to check with us.

In most cases referred by an advisor or support worker, where the advisor or support worker is doing ongoing work with the client,  we continue to feedback, update and work with the person who has referred the case.

If the case is urgent, and we have liaised with you in making an appointment for the client, you can assist us by providing any appropriate help to the client so that they are able to attend, and we may ask you to pass details of further information we will require of the client, so that they are fully prepared for the appointment, and that time can be spent effectively in dealing with the urgent matter. 

Urgent advice

Where an adviser considers that advice is genuinely required as a matter of urgency, it is important that our administration staff and legal team are aware of the position when the advisor first contacts us. In most cases a CLAO Edinburgh solicitor will then take the call or if that is not feasible, contact the adviser by telephone as soon as is practical to enable a detailed discussion of the issues and fix the appropriate timescale for a response. If we cannot take the call immediately, we need full contact details, and preferably more than one option, left with any message, as if we are unable to return a call for any reason, then the query cannot be processed as urgent. Urgent requests and the work arising from them can only be dealt with within office hours as detailed above. There may be occasions when calls received after 4pm, even if urgent, may not be attended to by a solicitor until the following working day. Advisers also are asked to note that CLAO Edinburgh can only take on urgent work where the service has capacity to do so. Advisors should note that we do not have a drop-in facility even for urgent issues. A client who is to be referred to us, even as a matter of urgency, should not be directed to attend our office unless it is to an appointment which has already been scheduled. The best route is always to telephone or email us first. Contact Us