asked Her Majesty's Government:
What percentage of cases in which legal aid is disbursed are non-criminal cases; how much money has been disbursed in legal aid in non-criminal cases since 2000; and what proportion of this money was of overall spending on legal aid in each of the years since 2000. [HL2429]
The Legal Services Commission does not record cases; it records acts of assistance. These represent the various stages that a person may go through under legal aid, such as initial advice and assistance followed by representation in a civil court; this would score as two acts of assistance. Currently, around 38 per cent of acts of assistance are non-criminal. The amount spent on non-criminal legal aid (including immigration) and the proportion of total legal aid spend that this represented since 2000 are set out below:
Expenditure (£m) Proportion of total legal aid spend 2000-01 791 48% 2001-02 734 43% 2002-03 813 43% 2003-04 898 43% 2004-05 846 42% 2005-06 831 41%
Proportion of total legal aid spend
The figures given are expressed in cash terms for the sake of consistency, since prior to 2004 resource figures are not available. Current estimates suggest that resource expenditure on non-criminal legal aid will be around 20 per cent higher in 2006-07 than in 2004-05. The cash consequences of that increase in resources follow later.