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Legal Aid: Northern Ireland

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to increase access to criminal legal aid in Northern Ireland. (195498)

In Northern Ireland the judiciary are responsible for determining applications for criminal legal aid applying the statutory tests of whether the applicant has insufficient means and the interests of justice.

In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 97 per cent. of defendants who applied were granted criminal legal aid. There is therefore no evidence to suggest that there is a need to increase access to criminal legal aid.