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Legal aid expenditure for family matters rose 5 per cent in July to September 2021

In July to September 2021 legal aid for family matters rose 5 per cent to £149.7 million. Legal aid for public family law, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of all civil legal aid, amounted to £120.7 million (an increase of 2 per cent). Legal aid in private family matters came to £29 million (an increase of 19 per cent).

In July to September 2021 family legal help starts increased by 12 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. Completed claims also increased by 7 per cent and expenditure remained unchanged. However, compared to the same period of 2019 (pre-Covid), family legal help starts were down by 26 per cent, completed claims were down by 16 per cent and expenditure fell by 13 per cent. There was a steep decline immediately following the implementation of LASPO Act in April 2013, with a more gradual decline over the last two to three years.

In July to September 2021, certificates granted for family civil representation work decreased by 12 per cent compared to the respective quarter of the previous year. Certificates completed increased by 10 per cent and the associated expenditure has also increased by 5 per cent over the same period. Compared to the same quarter of 2019, certificates granted were down 7 per cent, certificates completed fell 12 per cent and closed case expenditure fell 3 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. The volume and expenditure for closed case domestic violence civil representation increased following the initial impacts of Covid-19 and continues to exceed pre-covid-19 levels (35 per cent and 30 per cent higher respectively – compared to July to September 2019).

Applications for civil representation supported by evidence of domestic violence or child abuse decreased by 8 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.

For the full figures, click here.