[Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair] — Access to Justice: Vulnerable People

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:30 am on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 10:30 am, 19th January 2016

I would simply say that the hon. Gentleman should look at some of the cases in England and Wales. He will find that some of the fraud cases in this jurisdiction are pretty complex. However, I am grateful to him for saying that it is important that we look at matters from an overall perspective. With the best will in the world, some of those who have spoken already have not done so—they have seen legal aid in a narrow confine, rather than from the overall perspective the hon. Gentleman speaks of.

Even after the reforms we have put in place, we still have a very generous legal aid system, compared with other countries. Last year we spent more than £1.6 billion on legal aid, which is about a quarter of the Ministry of Justice’s departmental expenditure. As I said, that is one of the most generous legal aid budgets in the world.