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Legal Aid

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many claims for legal aid were (a) rejected and (b) successful in (i) England and (ii) Winchester in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. (74848)

Legal aid is administered by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) for both England and Wales combined. The following tables therefore include information for both England and Wales, as compared to Winchester.

For civil matters, the LSC records figures for applications received for legal aid and certificates issued. The following table shows the applications; received and the certificates awarded for civil legal aid in Winchester, and England and Wales for each of the three previous years.

WinchesterEngland and Wales

Applications received

Certificates issued

Applications received

Certificates issued

2005-06

374

316

194,788

156,164

2004-05

380

324

193,305

155,464

2003-04

379

300

205,122

160,998

Notes: Care should be taken not to confuse the certificates issued in any year as only relating to applications made in the same year. Certificates issued may relate to applications made in previous years. Additionally, certificates may not be issued following applications for a variety of reasons such as; the application being withdrawn or the matter being abandoned by the applicant, as well as being rejected.

For criminal matters, the vast majority of legal aid applications are made in the magistrates court. However, Winchester does not have one.

The following table shows the number of applications granted and refused in Winchester Crown court for representation in the Crown court, compared to all Crown court locations in England and Wales1.

1 These figures include a small number of applications granted in the magistrates court and extended by the Crown court.

Winchester Crown courtCrown courts in England and Wales

Applications granted

Applications refused

Applications granted

Applications refused

2005-06

210

1

12,777

225

2004-05

239

1

12,098

223

2003-04

180

1

11,675

229

The number of legal aid applications for any specified geographical area should not be misinterpreted as being representative of the number of people within that area. The figures relate to the location of the court for criminal matters, and the location of the supplier for civil matters, For criminal matters it is possible for people from outside a specified location to have their applications decided by courts within it and vice versa. For civil matters, it is possible for people from outside a specified area to receive legal aid by suppliers within that area and vice versa.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many applications for legal aid have been (a) made and (b) refused in each year since 1997. (75341)

The following table gives information on applications for representation. Central records are not kept for matters such as civil legal help or criminal advice and assistance, as the decision whether to grant legal aid is taken by the service supplier, not the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Civil representation1

Applications received

434,136

412,954

342,813

226,104

205,821

Certificates issued

319,432

295,872

245,800

174,017

161,988

Crown court representation

Applications received

12,770

12,862

10,571

12,827

12,004

Applications granted

12,562

12,628

10,381

12,537

11,828

Applications rejected

208

234

190

290

176

Magistrates courts representation2

Applications received

n/a3

n/a3

n/a3

563,002

664,448

Applications granted

n/a3

n/a3

n/a3

530,622

633,944

Applications rejected

n/a3

n/a3

n/a3

32,380

30,504

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Civil representation1

Applications received

211,723

205,122

193,305

194,788

Certificates issued

164,193

160,998

155,464

155,164

Crown court representation

Applications received

10,962

11,904

12,321

13,002

Applications granted

10,759

11,675

12,098

12,777

Applications rejected

203

229

223

225

Magistrates courts representation2

Applications received

704,819

705,635

670,102

700,292

Applications granted

672,092

669,853

635,648

664,912

Applications rejected

32,727

35,782

34,454

35,380

1Before 2000, the Legal Aid Board administered legal aid. For civil matters, the LSC now records figures for applications received and certificates issued. Care should be taken not to confuse the certificates issued in any year as only relating to applications made in the same year. Additionally, certificates may not be issued following applications for a variety of reasons, such as the application being withdrawn or the matter being abandoned by the applicant, as well as being refused.

2 These figures are estimates based on returns submitted by magistrates courts.

3 The information is not available.