Legal aid

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on legal aid. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
22.07.2014Criminal legal aid contracting, residence test and other Ministry of Justice proposals for transforming legal aid
On 27 February 2014, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published its final proposals for the procurement of legal aid services. Following much public debate, the final proposals did not feature price competitive tendering, which proved to be particularly controversial. The MoJ said that, combined with other confirmed reforms, the revised proposals would make savings of around 215 million per year by 2018/19. The High Court ruled that the proposed residence test for legal aid was unlawful on 15 July 2014.
11.03.2014Legal aid for representation at an inquest.
Legal aid for representation at an inquest is generally only available through the 'exceptional funding' criteria of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which came into force on 1 April 2013.
21.02.2014Legal help: where to go and how to pay
This note sets out information about where to seek legal help or advice in England and Wales.
22.08.2013Legal aid: Paying the statutory charge
Where legally-aided clients in civil cases have kept or retained money or property (for example in claims for financial provision on divorce) they may, at the end of their case, have to repay some or all of the costs via what is known as the statutory charge. This note describes how the Legal Aid Agency may levy the statutory charge.
23.05.2013Civil legal aid: changes since 1 April 2013
This note examines the changes made by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and some of the further changes proposed in the Ministry of Justice's most recent consultation paper.

Research Papers

DateDescription
20.10.2011Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Committee Stage Report
04.07.2011Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Bill No 205 of 2010-12
This Research Paper has been prepared for the second reading of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The Bill covers a diverse range of issues, including legal aid; litigation funding and costs; sentencing; bail, remand and release on licence; prisoners' pay and employment; out of court disposals and knives.
09.08.2007The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill Bill 130 of 2006-07
29.05.2007Legal Services Bill [HL] Bill 108 of 2006-07
09.12.2005The Criminal Defence Service Bill (HL) (Bill 64 of 2005-06).

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
16.11.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-first report on Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.06.2011The Government's proposed reform of legal aid.
Government response. Ministry of Justice report [Commons]
15.03.2011The Government's proposed reform of legal aid.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
08.12.2009Family legal aid reform.
Government response. Ministry of Justice; Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
13.10.2009Family legal aid reform.
Government response. Ministry of Justice; Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
01.11.2011PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES
That this House considers that any attempt to economise on our arcane, high fee, high cost and adversarial justice systemby cutting legal aid must deprive the poor and people of modest ...
31.10.2011PROVISION OF LEGAL AID
That this House notes with concern that proposed legal aid cuts will lead to a loss of face-to-face advice for debt, employment, housing and welfare benefits that could make the funding ...
08.06.2011LEGAL AID: CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE
<p>That this House notes with great concern the Secretary of State for Justice's statement that, as part of the Government's proposed cuts to access to legal aid, `No win, no fee is ...
28.02.2011PROPOSED REDUCTIONS IN SPENDING ON LEGAL AID
That this House is alarmed by the Government's proposed changes to citizens' access to legal aid which, if introduced, will dramatically change the shape and scope of such important ...
19.01.2011CARTER RUCK
That this House notes with concern the report in The Guardian of 19 January 2011 that the solicitors Carter Ruck threatened the Soil Association with libel proceedings in order to bully ...

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
01.11.2013Debate on 7 November: The Armed Forces and Legal Challenge
This Note looks at some of the issues raised by legal challenges to the Armed Forces.
05.07.2013Debate on 11 July: Effect of Cuts in Legal Aid Funding on the Justice System
This Note contains a brief summary of the development of legal aid, focussing on changes since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, before summarising the most recent consultation paper, Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a More Credible and Transparent System. The Note then outlines reactions to the latest proposals and summarises recent parliamentary scrutiny of the proposed changes.
15.11.2011Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (HL Bill 109 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses