Legal Aid Scheme

Justice written question – answered on 12th September 2013.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made, and on what evidential basis, of the cost implications of an increase in litigants in person in the court system as a result of his Transforming Legal Aid proposal; and if he will make a statement.

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

Between 9 April and 4 June 2013 the Government consulted on a number of proposals to reform legal aid via the “Transforming Legal Aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system” consultation . We have been clear we must continue to bear down on the cost of legal aid, including around £1 billion of taxpayers' money spent on criminal legal aid a year, to ensure we are getting the best deal for the taxpayer.

The impact assessments (IAs) published alongside the consultation paper contain the Government's initial assessment of the impact of the proposals, including the data on which the assessments were made. We noted a potential increase in litigants in person as a risk in the IAs, but the numbers were too uncertain to quantify and/or cost. Updated impact assessments will be published alongside the forthcoming response, setting out the Government's final assessment of the impact of the proposals to be implemented.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has established a Litigants in Person Programme Board which is monitoring the impact of the legal aid changes in relation to litigants in person. The board includes members from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and the judicial office and will be considering the impact of the changes on the effective running of the courts and tribunals.

In addition Ministers and officials in the MOJ meet regularly with HMCTS and members of the judiciary and will receive regular feedback on the impact of the changes.

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