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Legal Aid

Volume 690: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

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%

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.