Legal Aid Scheme

Justice written question – answered on 5th September 2013.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Independent, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what estimate he has made of the number of people that have successfully applied for legal aid since the introduction of the Legal Aid Online Information Service;

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on traditional methods of applying for legal aid of the introduction of the Legal Aid Online Information Service;

(3) how many complaints his Department has received relating to the Legal Aid Online Information Service since its inception.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Comprehensive information on applications made since 1 April 2013 when legal aid changes came into effect will not be available until the end of the financial year and information on the number of acts of assistance will normally be published by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) in their Annual Report and Statistical Information Pack.

The Online Information Service helps members of the public to check whether they might be eligible to receive legal aid and if so, find an appropriate legal aid provider. For those who are not eligible for legal aid, the service provides people with information on, and access to, alternative sources of help and assistance, to help them resolve their problems.

The online service is not the only route for checking eligibility to legal aid and members of the public cannot use the service to make a legal aid application. Depending on the area of law, they can apply through the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) advice line or a face to face provider.

Methods for applying for legal aid continue to be available through traditional methods and members of the public can use the CLA advice line (telephone and email,) post or a face to face provider, depending on the area of law.

From the date the online tool was launched on 1 April 2013, we have received eight comments from users about either incorrect solicitor/mediator listings or technical problems, but no formal complaints.

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