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Legal Aid

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 how many solicitor's firms in (a) England, (b) the South West, (c) Devon and (d) East Devon provided legal aid services in each of the last 10 years.

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

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, figures for the numbers of solicitor offices in England and Wales providing legal aid services in each year since 2002-03 are available and are shown in the following table. Prior to the introduction of the civil unified contract in April 2007 and criminal unified contract in July 2008, legal aid providers delivering services in more than one office would hold separate contracts for each of those offices. In addition, where providers have decided not to continue providing civil legal aid services, they may nevertheless still have an account or accounts with the Legal Services Commission while they continue to deal with their remaining clients.

Over the period there has been a downward trend in the overall number of solicitor offices dealing with legal aid. This is because there has been a continuing process of offices that do only small amounts of legal aid work leaving the market or merging with other offices, so that the work is done in larger volumes at fewer offices. In addition, the Legal Services Commission has over time sought to terminate dormant accounts where no work was being done.

Civil Crime
2002-03 5,372 2,967
2003-04 5,245 2,832
2004-05 5,099 2,695
2005-06 4,106 2,630
2006-07 3,708 2,534
2007-08 3,627 2,230

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