Legal Aid Scheme: EU Countries

Justice written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information his Department holds on levels of spending on legal aid in each EU member state; what assessment he has made of where the UK ranks in relation to other EU member states in respect of such spending; and if he will make a statement.

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

Legal aid forms a vital part of our justice system and the Government strongly believes that access to justice is the hallmark of civil society.

The most recent EU data allowing international comparisons of legal aid spend was collected in 2010 and published in 2012 by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). This can be found at:

http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/evaluation/2012/Rapport_en.pdf.

This shows that the legal aid budget approved for England and Wales of 2.521 million euros, was the highest of any of the 41 countries assessed. For more detail, see table 2.1 in the publication.

The publication also shows the annual public budget allocated to legal aid per inhabitant, which controls for countries having different population sizes. This shows that in 2010, England and Wales was second highest of the 41 countries assessed, with 45.7 euros of the public budget allocated to legal aid per inhabitant, compared to an average of 7.7 euros for the other European countries. The country with the highest legal aid allocation per inhabitant was Northern Ireland with 53.5 euros. For more detail, see figure 2.22 in the publication.

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