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Legal Aid: South West

Justice written question – answered on 11th June 2009.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons legal aid expenditure in the South West has decreased since 2004-05.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

The decrease in expenditure in the South West is primarily due to reduced expenditure on criminal matters.

The largest share of this was in the Crown court and here the reported decline is at least in part, only apparent. This is because with the development of contracting for very high cost cases, expenditure on these is assigned to the office from which the contract is managed, rather than the court in which the case is heard. Most high cost cases heard in the Crown court in the South West are not managed in that region.

There has also been a decline in representation costs in the magistrates courts. This is due to the reintroduction of the means test for legal aid.

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