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Inquests: Armed Forces

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for legal aid have been made in order to secure legal representation at inquests into the deaths of armed forces personnel since 2000; and how many have been refused. (251130)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) on 20 January 2009, Official Report, column 1332W.

Applications for exceptional funding are made to the Legal Services Commission (LSC), the independent body which administers the legal aid scheme, in the first instance. Exceptional funding legal aid can be granted by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on the recommendation of the LSC for representation at inquests, if the exceptional funding criteria are met. The LSC does not break down the number of applications it receives for representation at inquests by category of inquest.

The MOJ has received applications relating to 16 military inquests since January 2003 and has granted funding for all 16 inquests.

Neither the Legal Services Commission nor the Ministry of Justice has specific data on military inquests prior to January 2003.