Skip to main content

Legal Services Commission: Fees and Charges

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what interest rate the Legal Services Commission is allowed to charge when taking possession of houses; and if he will make a statement. (303552)

Members of the public who receive civil legal aid for a money or property dispute, and who succeed in obtaining a financial benefit from their case, are required to repay their legal aid costs, so resources can be recycled to help others. If someone is unable to repay their legal aid costs immediately, these can be postponed as a statutory charge on their property. Where charges are postponed against property, persons are not obliged to make any repayments, or to repay the charge in full until their financial circumstances change, or the property changes hands. The Legal Services Commission will not force anyone to sell their home. However, in order to encourage clients to repay their postponed charge where they can, the charge accrues simple interest, the rate for which is set out in regulations. The current rate is 8 per cent. A written ministerial statement was made concerning this issue by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Justice (Mr. Wills) on 8 June 2009, Official Report, columns 23-24WS.