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Legal Aid Scheme

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 245758, tabled on 18 April 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to establish separate legal aid funds for (a) increasing access to justice for people in civil, criminal and legal aid cases and (b) political and human rights cases.

Answered on

30 April 2019

Access to justice is a fundamental right and last year the government spent £1.6bn on legal aid.

Legal aid is available in a wide range of cases across different jurisdictions. This includes crime, family, housing, immigration, and areas where human rights may have been breached. In most of these areas, applicants have to satisfy statutory means and merits tests.

The legal aid fund is administered by the independent Legal Aid Agency, acting according to their statutory duty under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Decisions on legal aid funding are made by the Director of Legal Aid Casework, who acts independently of Ministers.

We recently published the post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). Alongside this we published the Legal Support Action Plan which outlines the steps the Government will be taking over the next two years to enhance the breadth of support to people experiencing legal problems. This includes delivering £5m in innovation funding to drive change across the sector, and doubling our funding to support litigants in person to £3m for each of the next two years.