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Legal Aid

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 17 June (WA 213), why funding for legal aid in Northern Ireland increased from £34.5 million in 1999–2000 to £80 million in 2008–09. [HL4444]

The increase in the legal aid bill reflects the demand for services and the cost of the provision of those services. The largest area of expenditure is criminal legal aid which accounts for 60 per cent of legal aid expenditure. There has been a significant increase in the number of cases granted criminal legal aid and an increase in the cost of the more complex criminal cases.

A range of measures is being brought forward to control the cost of criminal cases together with a wider reform programme on civil legal aid.