Implementing reforms to civil legal aid - Public Accounts Committee Contents


Legal aid pays for legal services for people who meet eligibility criteria set by the Government. In November 2010, the Ministry set out plans for reforms to civil legal aid and these took effect in April 2013. The reforms had four objectives: to make significant savings to the legal aid budget; to discourage litigation at public expense; to target legal aid to those who need it most; and to deliver better overall value for money. To achieve this the Ministry introduced reforms including: removing many areas of law from eligibility for legal aid; tightening the financial eligibility criteria for legal aid; cutting fees paid to providers by 10%; and providing more legal advice over the telephone. The Ministry is responsible for legal aid policy and the Legal Aid Agency (the Agency) is responsible for the operation of the legal aid system, including managing contracts with legal aid providers and monitoring the quality and accessibility of legal aid. The Agency spent £801 million on civil legal aid in 2013-14, £141 million less than in 2012-13.

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Prepared 4 February 2015