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Review on criminal legal aid extended to civil legal aid

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Treasury Minister, Alfred Cannan, has today (Tuesday 15 January 2019) made a statement to Tynwald updating the Honourable Court on the progress of the criminal legal aid review project.

Part of the Securing Added Value and Efficiencies (SAVE) programme, the project involves reviewing the Island's criminal legal aid model. Following a request from the Legal Aid Committee, the project will now be extended to include civil legal aid. The project's extended remit will continue to be led by Her Majesty's Attorney General, John Quinn QC MLC.

Over the past five years the average cost of legal aid and its administration has been £3.8 million per annum. Unlike most legal aid systems around the world, the Isle of Man has an open ended, uncapped, demand-led provision, helping support access to justice for its citizens.

The Treasury Minister, in his statement to Tynwald, said:

'A fundamental cornerstone of our society is the overarching principle of "Access to Justice" which both criminal and civil legal aid sit under. The first phase of this project is now firmly underway and we expect a public consultation on criminal legal aid to start this spring. It would seem pragmatic to undertake a concurrent review of both criminal and civil legal aid in the Isle of Man as a number of functions and processes are inextricably linked.'

In his statement to Tynwald, the Treasury Minister made it clear that no decisions on any aspect of legal aid provision had been made.

He said:

'No decisions will be made on the future delivery of criminal or civil legal aid until a comprehensive and inclusive consultation process has taken place and stakeholder responses have been fully considered. I would also like to reaffirm that legal aid policy decisions remain the responsibility for the Legal Aid Committee.'

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