Written Answers. - Legal Aid Costs.

Denis Foley

Question:

52 Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Justice the cost of criminal legal aid in each of the years from 1993 to 1995; the number of cases which were granted free legal aid for the same period; the average payment; and the most paid in respect of a case. [6798/97]

The cost of criminal legal aid in the years 1993, 1994 and 1995 was £5.989 million, £7.044 million and £7.987 million, respectively.

Statistical information in the precise form sought by the Deputy regarding the number of cases in 1993, 1994 and 1995 in which legal aid was granted is not readily available. The criminal legal aid payment system is geared towards the payment of solicitors and barristers on foot of claims and there may be a number of claims arising in an individual case. The information requested in relation to cases could only be compiled by the allocation of a disproportionate amount of staff time. However, the following information is available.

1993

1994

1995

Number of claims paid:

District Court

19,352

23,985

27,288

Number of claims paid:

Circuit and Higher Courts

1,661

1,974

2,488

Average payment per claim: District Court

£183

£175

£172

Average payment per claim: Circuit and Higher Courts

£1,298

£1,260

£1,118

Largest individual payment made:

£9,719

£30,000

£45,350

(This amount represents the total payments made on an individual legal representative during the year in respect of one particular case)

(excluding VAT and Retention Tax)

(excluding VAT and Retention Tax)

(excluding VAT and Retention Tax)