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Legal Advice and Assistance: Travelling People

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding was allocated to legal advice for Travellers in 2007-08 by (a) his Department and (b) the Legal Services Commission (i) directly and (ii) in the form of grants to external organisations in 2007-08. (203143)

The Ministry of Justice does not directly fund external organisations to provide legal advice to Travellers.

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) contracts with the Community Law Partnership to provide a helpline for Travellers offering advice on a range of matters. The Travellers' telephone helpline receives funding each year contingent upon the contract holder, the Community Law Partnership, delivering 1,100 hours of work per year. The service has been established since 2004 and forms part of the LSC's national telephone helpline, Community Legal Advice. In 2007-08 the contract for this helpline was worth £56,540 excluding VAT.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice authorised the LSC to fund a total sum of £31,400 for legal advice and representation for Travellers through the exceptional funding scheme in 2007-08. This was for legal representation at planning inquiries.

Travellers are also entitled to receive legal aid in other areas of law. However, the LSC does not have readily available information on the number of Travellers who receive such assistance.