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Magistrates' Courts (Costs)

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the actual central Government and local authority costs in respect of: administrative costs, prosecution costs, defence costs, criminal legal aid, and accommodation costs, as these relate to the magistrates' courts service in England and Wales for 1979–80.

Details of expenditure on magistrates' courts in England and Wales for 1979–80 are not yet available. But expenditure on administration—including salaries—and accommodation is expected to be about £80 million. This expenditure is initially borne by local authorities but attracts a central Government grant of 80 per cent. In the published Supply Estimates for 1979–80 provision was made for prosecution and defence costs awarded out of central funds in indictable cases amounting to £6.5 million and for expenditure on criminal legal aid, which also falls on central Government funds, of £29·7 million. The costs incurred by the Home Office on its functions in respect of magistrates' courts are met from the provision made for Home Office administration in the Central and Miscellaneous Services (Home Office) Vote and are not readily distinguishable.