Legal Aid Scheme

Justice written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather Liberal Democrat, Brent Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average payment was; and how many payments were made to legal aid providers for judicial review cases that were refused at permission stage in each of the last five years.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

At a cost of around £2 billion a year we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world. We have made changes and proposed further reforms to reduce the cost of legal aid and to ensure that the legal aid system commands the confidence of the public. The Government is committed to providing value for money for the taxpayer and making legal aid sustainable for the future.

Judicial review is an important way of challenging decisions by public authorities and will remain so. The following table shows the volume and mean legal aid costs claimed for all work on judicial review cases which ended after permission was refused by the court for each of the last five years.

Our recently announced changes to legal aid funding for judicial review cases aim to ensure that meritless cases no longer receive taxpayer funding by only paying legal aid providers for work carried out if permission is granted or where the LAA exercises its discretion to pay the provider in a case where proceedings are issued but the case concludes prior to a permission decision being made.

These figures include the legal aid costs on those cases where costs were met in full or in part by the other party in the case.

The LAA has used outcome data reported by providers to establish whether or not a case ended after permission was refused. Due to errors when outcomes are reported to the LAA, there may be additional cases where permission was refused that cannot be identified from LAA data. Furthermore, as the data are live they may be subject to further changes and will differ slightly from the data provided previously in our impact assessment on the recent legal aid changes.

The following data are correct as at 17 February 2014.

Financial year Volume of judicial review cases ending post permission refusal Average civil representation costs on these cases (£)
2008-09 581 3,398.07
2009-10 585 3,551.81
2010-11 816 2,984.58
2011-12 842 3,164.00
2012-13 749 3.884.99

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