Results 1–20 of 1948 for speaker:Mike Freer

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Powers of Attorney: Scotland (29 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: Scottish powers of attorney are already recognised and have effect as a matter of law in England and Wales. The Government is currently supporting the Powers of Attorney Bill, which facilitates modernisation of the process for making and registering lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in England and Wales. Modernising this service will require engagement with third party organisations. This...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Ministry of Justice: Billing (29 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: All government departments publish payment performance quarterly, showing the percentage of invoices paid in 5 days; the percentage of invoices paid in 30 days; and net debt interest liability. The Ministry of Justice pays 85% of submitted invoices within 5 days, and 96% of submitted invoices within 30 days. Ministry of Justice’s payment performance is available at:...

Justice: Joint Enterprise: Under-18s (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: The number of young people in custody is at an historic low, with the number of under-18s in custody having fallen by 77% over the past decade. The Ministry of Justice does not, however, collate information on whether a prosecution or conviction for any crime was also one of joint enterprise. We are considering whether such data could be collected as part of the Common Platform programme.

Justice: Joint Enterprise: Under-18s (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: I am aware of the court case to which the hon. Gentleman refers, and I am always happy to engage with him on his private Member’s Bill.

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: On 30 November 2022, we published our full response to the criminal legal aid independent review and a consultation on policy proposals. We are boosting the system with up-front investments to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% for most legal aid fee schemes. We have also launched a review of civil legal aid to identify options that inform our long-term strategy of...

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: On the exemption issue, if the hon. Lady would like to write to me, I will certainly investigate that. She will be pleased to know that in the last two months we have invested an additional £10 million to boost the amount of legal aid available on housing matters.

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: I do not recognise spending more than £2 billion a year as “running on empty”. Spending an extra £4 million on section 28 fees, an extra £10 million on housing legal aid, an extra £5.6 million on special guardianship legal aid, and an extra £3.3 million on special and wasted preparation legal aid is not “running on empty”. In terms of representation across the UK, the Legal Aid...

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: If I may, as it is such a technical issue, I will happily meet the hon. Gentleman or write with a detailed answer.

Justice: Family Courts (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: Drawn-out court proceedings can have a damaging impact on parents and children. We have published a consultation on proposals for a funded mandatory mediation and co-parenting programme before court to enable more families to resolve disputes out of court. We have also invested a further £15 million in the family mediation voucher scheme, which will help about 28,000 more separating families...

Justice: Family Courts (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: My hon. Friend raises a very important point. In July 2022, a landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 measure came into force, prohibiting domestic abuse perpetrators and victims from cross-examining each other in person during certain family and civil proceedings. Family and civil courts can now engage a court-funded qualified legal representative to conduct cross-examinations in these cases. That...

Justice: Family Courts (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: My hon. Friend raises a very important and sensitive issue. The Government are reviewing all aspects of family law, particularly in terms of how to ensure that families stay out of court. The extra £15 million for mediation vouchers will help to keep people out of that adversarial situation. It is also about the use of language, to ensure that children are not scarred by the adversarial...

Justice: Family Courts (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: The hon. Lady raises a point that has been raised before. The Department is reviewing how we can ensure that people caught up in the family court system are protected from such abuse.

Justice: Family Courts (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: What I can tell the hon. Gentleman is that we have spent over £813 million on civil legal aid. In fact, the means-testing review is expected to widen civil legal aid availability to an extra 2 million people, so I do not accept the premise that we are failing families or the civil legal aid system, because of the investment we are making.

Justice: HMCTS: Probate Service (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: Despite the increased volume of applications received during and after the covid-19 pandemic, the average length of time taken for a grant of probate once all required documents are received has been maintained at between four and seven weeks, with the average response being almost one week faster in the third quarter of 2022 than the yearly average for 2020 and 2021.

Justice: HMCTS: Probate Service (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: My right hon. Friend raises a case that I have taken some time to unpick. I can reassure her that wait times for calls to the helpline have dropped from an hour to between five and 10 minutes. In terms of the number of what are called stops, when we have to ask for additional information, we are looking at why the form causes that, to see whether it is user-friendly. We are also recruiting...

Justice: HMCTS: Probate Service (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: I have to say to the right hon. Lady that that is an interesting take on a pause. I do not think that taking extra time to ensure that a new system beds down correctly and listening to the concerns of the staff, which many Opposition Members have been asking for for many weeks, is shambolic. Many of the issues in the probate system are caused by the sheer volume of cases coming in with the...

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: Legal aid is granted only to individuals. There are specific regulations that set out the position relating to multi-party applications. Following changes made in 2012, legal aid may be granted to participants in MPAs only where each individual has a cause of action and will directly benefit from proceedings. This is a way of dealing with a collection of cases more efficiently by identifying...

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: I am aware of the concern that Members have about the use of legal aid in such cases, but I can reassure my hon. Friend that the Legal Aid Agency reviews all cases to ensure that the funding decisions are necessary before they are agreed.

Justice: Legal Aid (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. The Legal Aid Agency will always monitor cases where we get repeat applications for funding to ensure that any application is warranted before being agreed.

Justice: Court Proceedings: Social Media (28 Mar 2023)

Mike Freer: We have taken steps to mitigate the risk that social media poses to court cases following a call for evidence in 2019. Arrangements are in place with social media companies to ensure that relevant material is flagged and removed, and we are working to improve the enforcement of anonymity laws. Courts will take appropriate action against those who misuse social media, and they may be found in...

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