Berkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy ServicesIQ Legal Training

Family legal aid bill rises to £148 million for the last quarter

In the last quarter of 2019 legal aid granted in family cases amounted to £148 million, representing an increase of 8 per cent from the same period in 2018. There were 20,000 legally-aided public law cases (down by 5 per cent), accounting for £123 million (up 6%); 9,000 legally-aided private law cases (up 19 per cent), accounting for £25 million (up 22 per cent) and 5,000 mediations and MIAMs (up 12 per cent), accounting for £1 million (up 13 per cent). The figures were included in the Ministry of Justice's Legal Aid Statistics for October to December 2019.

In that period family legal help starts decreased by 4 per cent compared to the same quarter the previous year. Completed claims increased by 3 per cent and expenditure decreased by 1 per cent. There was a steep decline immediately following the implementation of LASPO Act in April 2013, with a more gradual decline over the next 2 to 3 years, and a gradual increase over the last 12 months.

Certificates granted for family work increased by 8 per cent in October to December 2019 compared to the previous year. Certificates completed increased by 1 per cent and associated expenditure increased by 8 per cent compared to the same quarter the previous year.

In family mediation, Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) increased by 15 per cent in the last quarter compared to the previous year and currently stand at just over a third of pre-LASPO levels. Starts increased by 19 per cent and outcomes increased by 13 per cent, and are now sitting at around half of pre-LASPO levels.

In October to December 2019, applications for civil representation supported by evidence of domestic violence or child abuse decreased by 3 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year. The total number of certificates granted increased by 14 per cent over the same period. The proportion of applications granted remained steady at around 70 per cent from the inception of this type of application until the end of 2015, before increasing to around 80 per cent. The provisional figure for the latest quarter is 82 per cent.

For the full figures, click here.