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Legal Aid: Ethnic Groups

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (1) what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the implementation of the recommendations of the Carter Review of legal aid on black and minority ethnic legal firms in London; (138978)

(2) if she will undertake to conduct a race impact assessment of the proposed Carter Review reforms of legal aid;

(3) what assessment she has made of the impact of the implementation of the recommendations of the Carter Review of legal aid on access to justice by clients with disabilities.

The Government set out their overall strategy for the reform of legal aid procurement in “Legal Aid Reform: the way ahead”, published in November last year. This was accompanied by a final regulatory impact assessment of those policies that were fully developed for implementation. These can be found on the Legal Services Commission’s website at:

www.legalservices.gov.uk/civil/docs_for_consultation/openConsultations002.asp.

In addition, as we progress along the proposed reform programme, the LSC and Ministry of Justice are, between us, producing draft and final regulatory impact assessments as appropriate at each step of the process. These assessments take into account any relevant impacts that are identified in the policy formulation and decision-making process, such as for BME-owned firms and BME practitioners, for clients with disabilities and for rural areas.

Where possible, impacts are also identified on a local level, including for London. These will be available on the Legal Services Commission’s website. As we progress with our reforms, our overarching aim is to ensure access to quality legal aid services for all clients.