Legal Aid Scheme

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of low remuneration rates for criminal solicitors on recruitment to the profession.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Defence solicitors carry out valuable work and we are determined to ensure publicly-funded criminal defence work remains a sustainable and attractive profession.

That is why a fundamental review of criminal legal aid fee schemes is currently underway. This will go far beyond our previous proposals, including pre-charge advice at the police station, advice and advocacy services in the Magistrates’ Court, and litigation and advocacy services in the Crown Court, and will report back by the end of Summer 2020.

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) monitors capacity across criminal legal aid contracts on a regular basis and takes action to ensure there is ongoing availability of criminal legal advice for the public. Last year we spent £1.6bn on legal aid, with more than half on criminal legal aid.

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