To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to conduct a rural impact assessment on the proposed reforms of legal aid.
My Department and the Legal Services Commission published "Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead" in November 2006, which was accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment, including an assessment of the impact of reform upon rural areas. This can be found on both the LSC and DCA's websites.
The LSC will be consulting further on elements of the reform programme over the coming year. These consultations, some of which will be conducted locally, will also be accompanied with an assessment of any potential impact on rural areas.