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Legal Aid

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many legal aid lawyers (1) dealt with (a) housing cases, (b) employment cases and (c) family cases in (i) Mid Bedfordshire constituency, (ii) the East of England and (iii) England in each of the last 10 years; (295412)

(2) dealing with immigration and asylum cases there were in (a) Mid Bedfordshire constituency, (b) the East of England and (c) England in each of the last 10 years.

Figures are only available for the last nine years, since the Access to Justice Act came in. Information is not held on the number of practitioners at each firm and instead shows the number of solicitor offices providing legal aid services each year.

Prior to the introduction of the civil unified contract in April 2007 and criminal unified contract in July 2008, legal aid providers delivering services in more than one office would hold separate contracts for each of those offices. The Legal Services Commission (LSC) now contracts with legal aid firms but each firm may have several offices. The office then holds a schedule or schedules that enable it to undertake work in each category of law. Therefore, from the introduction of the unified contracts, the total figures do not represent the total number of offices.

Over the period there has been a downward trend in the overall number of solicitor offices dealing with legal aid. This is because there has been a continuing process of offices that do only small amounts of legal aid work leaving the market or merging with other offices, so that the work is done in larger volumes at fewer offices. In addition, the Legal Services Commission has over time sought to terminate dormant accounts where no work was being done.

The figures requested are available in the following tables.

England and Wales

Financial years

Family

Housing

Employment

Immigration asylum1

2000-01 (Start)

4,593

799

384

458

2000-01 (End)

4036

673

300

482

2001-02 (Start)

3,819

614

256

438

2001-02 (End)

3,757

585

240

514

2002-03 (Start)

3,645

563

218

500

2002-03 (End)

3,591

531

212

555

2003-04 (Start)

3,369

504

194

521

2003-04 (End)

3,270

471

187

513

2004-05 (Start)

3,072

450

163

380

2004-05 (End)

3,115

455

164

393

2005-06 (Start)

2,967

422

151

327

2005-06 (End)

2,881

420

136

264

2006-07 (Start)

2,784

410

128

239

2006-07 (End)

2,719

387

126

214

2007-08 (End)

2,679

370

114

182

2008-09 (End)

2,658

381

126

176

1 The immigration/asylum categories were split in 2004 so we can only provide information on immigration and other after this point.

Local authority—mid Bedfordshire

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Employment

2

2

2

1

1

1

Housing

3

3

3

3

3

2

2

2

2

Immigration

1

Immigration Asylum

1

1

Immigration Other

1

1

Family

8

7

8

8

7

6

5

5

5

4

Procurement area—east of England

Category of law/ Procurement area

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Employment

Bedfordshire

5

3

3

3

5

5

6

2

5

5

Cambridgeshire

3

3

3

2

3

3

3

1

3

3

East Essex

9

7

6

5

4

5

4

3

6

6

Norfolk

12

8

6

6

5

5

5

1

2

2

North Hertfordshire

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

South Hertfordshire

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Suffolk

4

3

3

3

2

2

1

2

2

West Essex

4

4

2

2

6

5

6

2

7

7

Housing

Bedfordshire

9

8

9

9

7

6

6

5

8

5

Cambridgeshire

7

5

6

4

5

5

6

3

6

5

East Essex

11

9

8

7

8

6

5

3

7

7

Norfolk

13

11

9

6

8

9

8

3

5

5

North Hertfordshire

3

2

3

2

2

2

1

1

1

South Hertfordshire

2

3

2

2

1

2

2

2

4

4

Suffolk

4

4

4

4

5

4

3

3

4

4

West Essex

7

5

4

3

5

5

6

3

8

8

Immigration

Bedfordshire

6

6

Cambridgeshire

6

7

East Essex

2

3

Norfolk

2

2

North Hertfordshire

1

3

South Hertfordshire

1

1

Suffolk

3

West Essex

1

1

Immigration Asylum

Bedfordshire

6

5

3

3

3

2

3

3

Cambridgeshire

3

1

1

1

2

4

3

East Essex

2

2

2

Norfolk

2

1

1

1

1

1

North Hertfordshire

2

1

1

1

1

1

South Hertfordshire

1

1

1

1

1

Suffolk

West Essex

Immigration Other

Bedfordshire

6

6

4

4

4

2

3

3

Cambridgeshire

5

3

3

5

4

2

4

3

East Essex

2

2

2

Norfolk

1

1

1

1

1

North Hertfordshire

3

2

1

1

1

1

South Hertfordshire

1

1

1

1

1

Suffolk

West Essex

Family

Bedfordshire

42

38

38

35

34

31

30

30

27

25

Cambridgeshire

51

46

46

43

44

37

36

29

31

31

East Essex

44

41

40

32

31

29

27

22

24

24

Norfolk

69

61

53

48

50

44

42

41

39

37

North Hertfordshire

39

34

31

25

21

19

18

16

13

13

South Hertfordshire

43

37

36

30

27

24

17

23

25

23

Suffolk

55

48

47

46

46

43

41

41

40

38

West Essex

64

55

53

52

49

46

45

43

47

47