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Legal Aid

Volume 975: debated on Monday 10 December 1979

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asked the Attorney-General what is the present annual cost of criminal and civil legal aid, respectively.

The Supply Estimates for 1979–80 provide for a net cost in England and Wales of approximately £62·2 million for criminal legal aid, and of approximately £49 million for civil legal aid and advice and assistance. Civil legal aid, legal advice and assistance and legal aid in criminal cases in magistrates' courts fall on the Vote of the Lord Chancellor, while criminal legal aid in the higher courts falls on the Vote of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

asked the Attorney-General what is the estimated percentage of the population eligible for legal aid.

Eligibility for the civil legal aid depends upon a number of factors and it is not possible to give a precise answer. However, it is estimated that about 75 per cent. of the adult population is eligible. It is not possible to gibe a similar estimate for criminal legal aid because there is no eligibility.