Criminal Proceedings

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 6 October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the sustainability of publicly funded criminal defence.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The Legal Aid Agency monitors capacity across criminal legal aid contracts and where issues are identified acts to ensure there is ongoing availability of criminal legal advice for the public.

In August we announced that we would be taking forward the policy proposals that practitioners told us mattered most for the Criminal Legal Aid Review (CLAR) accelerated areas. These areas were:?unused material, cracked trials, paper-heavy cases, sending cases to the Crown Court, and?pre-charge engagement. These policies allowed us to inject up to £51 million into criminal legal aid to further strengthen the market.

As part of our response to the Criminal Legal Aid Accelerated Areas consultation, we also announced that the next phase of the review would include an independently led review of the market, to ensure it can meet demand now and into the future, provide an effective and efficient service that ensures value for money for the taxpayer, and continues to provide defendants with high-quality advice from a diverse range of practitioners. Alongside this we continue to look at the current fee schemes to ensure they keep pace with wider reforms across the justice system.

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