Legal Aid Update..April 2007


Comment on Legal Aid in the Guardian,,2047907,00.html,,2048099,00.html


New Ministry of Justice announced

Keith Vaz MP comments on cuts in Legal Aid

Parliamentary Questions

How much does the Legal Services Commission administration cost as a proportion of Legal Aid Spending?

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of Legal Services Commission costs are accounted for by administration. [129121]

Vera Baird: The latest figures available (2005-06) show that the Legal Services Commission’s administration costs equate to 4.8 per cent. of expenditure on legal aid.

Domestic Violence and Legal Aid

Harry Cohen: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the effect on those (a) affected by domestic violence and (b) on low incomes of the proposed changes to legal aid arrangements; and if she will make a statement. [129570]

Ms Harman: Domestic violence is a cross-Government priority and formalised through the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Domestic Violence. The Group comprises of Ministers from nine Government Departments and the three devolved administrations. In light of the assessments and priority need, the group prepares an Annual Delivery Plan and reports against progress each year. The report for 2006-07 will be published shortly together with the Delivery Plan for 2007-08.

Domestic Violence proceedings are a priority area for legal aid funding. The Legal Services Commission’s (LSC’s) Funding Code Criteria for domestic violence cases are wider than for most other family and non-family areas; they are not limited to any specific definition of domestic violence or abuse. When appearing in a family court, persons of limited means will be funded in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. As a separate measure to the wider programme of legal aid reform as set out in "Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead" the financial eligibility limits for legal aid for domestic violence victims will be raised and both income and capital limits will be able to waived, by the LSC, on a discretionary basis from 9 April 2007. In criminal proceedings, the Crown Prosecution Service represents the victim of domestic violence.

Legal Services Commission

Press release on the unified contract

Law Society

Including information that 85% of Legal Aid firms have signed the Unified Contract


Consultation on the extension of the Duty Solicitor Call Centre