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
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
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