Legal Aid Scheme
George Howarth (Knowsley, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the implications of his proposals for the future of legal aid for the decision to replace county courts with the Salford Business Centre.
Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)
The County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC), located in Salford, does not replace county courts across England and Wales. The claims centre has been established to process all Part 7 Designated Money Claims up to the point of a claim being ready to be allocated to a county court hearing track. Hearings will continue to be conducted in the appropriate county courts across England and Wales.
The introduction of the CCMCC enables Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to make the very best use of its administrative resource and provides court users with an efficient and consistent service across England and Wales. It will deliver costs savings and efficiency improvements with nearly £2 million saved in 2010-11 and £4 million in 2011-12, the first full year of operation.
HMCTS provides support and assistance for CCMCC users through the provision of leaflets, web-based guidance and a national contact centre. This support and assistance will be reviewed in advance of the implementation of the legal aid reforms.