The purpose of the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme is to provide funding where it is legally needed. It does not provide a general power to fund cases which fall outside the scope of legal aid. Legal aid is a vital part of our justice system, but we cannot escape the continuing need to reduce the deficit. We still have a very generous system - last year we spent £1.6bn on legal aid, around a quarter of the department’s expenditure. Every ECF application is carefully considered by the Legal Aid Agency on an individual basis.
Volume of applications and subsequent grants for non-inquest ECF cases by age category and financial year.
Note: Age data for Exceptional Case Funding was collected from October 2013 onwards, hence the larger volume of unknowns in 2013-14 compared to the other years.
1The latest available published data is up to June 2015 so figures for 2015-16 are for one quarter only.