Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum submitted by the Northern Ireland Court Service


  1.  The purpose of this Memorandum is to submit the information to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee which the Committee requested in the course of the oral evidence hearing on 25 April 2001.

  2.  The Committee sought an analysis of legal aid expenditure for the financial year 2000-01. The total net expenditure on the legal aid fund was £37.698 million. Criminal legal aid expenditure for that year amounted to £21.877 million. This represents 58 per cent of the legal aid fund. Actual expenditure for the year is set out in Annex A.

  3.  The Committee sought an analysis of the year on year increase in legal aid expenditure in the last three years, together with projected increases in expenditure over the next three years. For the period 1998-99 to 2000-01 total legal aid fund expenditure increased from £30.089 million to £37.698 million. This represents a 25.3 per cent increase in expenditure. Full detail of the last three years expenditure is set out at Annex B.

  4.  A profile of expenditure covering the period 2001-02 to 2003-04 remains subject to further discussions with the Law Society's Legal Aid Department.

  5.  In respect of the timetable for the interim and full reports on the viability of conditional fees and a Contingency Legal Aid, Fund the Chairman of the Lord Chancellor's Legal Aid Advisory Committee has written to Alan Hunter in terms of the enclosed letter, Annex C.

  6.  In respect of priorities and exclusions from scope, the position is that Schedule 2 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 specifically excludes boundary disputes from the scope of the Community Legal Service in England and Wales. Full details of the exclusion of neighbours' disputes from the Community Legal Service in England and Wales is set out at Annex D.

  7.  The Committee sought a comparison in the level of increase, in real terms, of legal aid expenditure in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The period 1990-91 to 1999-2000 saw an increase in real terms of 116 per cent in legal aid fund expenditure. The corresponding figure in England and Wales was 73 per cent. Full details of the real terms increases in legal aid expenditure in the two jurisdictions is set out at Annex E.

  8.  In respect of the timetable for the draft legislation, the Minister had in mind that we intend to write to consultees about the timetable later in the year; not that we have done so already.

1 May 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 13 July 2001