The MoJ published the annual legal aid statistics today. These are the first that show the effect of a full year of LASPO – and the effects are stark. They include
- a reduction of 50% in the overall amount of Legal Help matters started
- a fall of 80% in the number of social welfare cases (both LH and certificate) – including a fall of 45% in housing
- a fall of 60% in the number of family cases, and 40% in the number of family mediations
- 1520 applications for exceptional funding – but just 69 grants, of which 53 were for inquests
- the number of civil legal aid providers has halved since 2008, and the number of crime providers has fallen by 16% over the same period
- in 2012-13 there were 870 NfP legal aid providers. In 2013-14 there were just 95 – a fall of 90%.
The figures also show an ongoing fall in expenditure – the total crime spend has fallen £200 million in two years, to £900 million – the lowest for at least 8 years. And this is before any of the recent cuts to crime scope and rates have taken effect. Similarly, civil expenditure is down £150 million to £800 million – the lowest since 2007 – and this will include many cases started before the scope cuts took effect. Next year’s expenditure is likely to show a steep drop, following this year’s plummeting case start numbers.