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Legal Aid

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the rate of legal aid has been since 1997; how much has been spent on legal aid in each year since 1997; and how many hours of legal aid work have been provided in each such year. (155449)

The expenditure on legal aid in cash terms during each of the financial years since 1997-98 is set out in the following table.

£ million

1997-98

1,525

1998-99

1,623

1999-2000

l,551

2000-01

1,664

2001-02

l,716

2002-03

1,909

2003-04

2,077

2004-05

2,038

2005-06

2,028

2006-07

l,980

Legal aid is paid at a wide range of different rates reflecting the variety of cases funded under different schemes within the Criminal Defence Service (CDS) and Community Legal Service (CLS). Details of the rates currently payable for the various categories of legal aid are available on the Legal Services Commission's website.

It is not possible to state the number of hours of legal aid work carried out in each year since 1997, as this is not centrally recorded. By January 2008 the vast majority of legal aid work will be remunerated on a ‘ per case’ basis rather than by the hour, reflecting the progressive extension of fixed and graduated fees over recent years.