Coroners: Legal Aid Scheme

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 21st February 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many inquests were granted legal aid for civil representation; what the average amount awarded was for those cases; and how much funding was allocated for that representation in each year since 2013.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Legal aid is available for representation under the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme. Legal aid is also available for initial advice and assistance prior to any application for civil representation becoming necessary.

The provision of legal aid for inquests did not change substantively under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

The number of certificates granted for civil representation at an inquest in each complete financial year since 2013 is shown below:

Financial Year

Applications granted/part granted

2013-14

54

2014-15

110

2015-16

165

2016-17

165

2017-18

177

The figures below show how many cases concluded in each financial year, and have had all claims associated with these paid in full. Please note that some cases will be continuing and will therefore costs associated with these will still be outstanding.

FY

Costs (£)

Volume of cases started in that year which have completed

Average costs per matter (£)

2013-14

350,174

31

11,296

2014-15

597,313

65

9,189

2015-16

752,686

91

8,271

2016-17

677,892

80

8,474

2017-18

197,333

33

5,980

The budget for the legal aid fund is set by MoJ and payments are made from this on a demand-led basis based on the application of the applicable means and merits eligibility criteria. Funding is not ‘allocated’ for specific categories of law or types of legal aid.

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