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Question

687. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice the value of criminal legal aid claimed by county under each of the various criminal legal aid schemes in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form. [12559/21]

688. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons that were granted criminal legal aid by county under each of the various criminal legal aid schemes in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form. [12560/21]

689. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice the amount of legal aid paid to each supplier (details supplied) under each of the various criminal legal aid schemes in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form. [12561/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 687, 688 and 689 together.
The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act, 1962, which is the primary legislation covering the operation of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, provides that free legal aid may be granted, in certain circumstances, for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings.
Under the Scheme, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid. An applicant for legal aid must establish to the satisfaction of the court that their means are insufficient to enable them to pay for legal aid themselves. The 1962 Act specifies that the court must also be satisfied that, by reason of the "gravity of the charge" or "exceptional circumstances", it is essential in the interests of justice that the applicant should have legal aid. Criminal prosecutions originate in the District Court and if so satisfied, the Judge will grant a criminal legal aid certificate.
It is not possible to provide the value of criminal legal aid by county under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme for each of the years 2018 to 2020. This information is not readily available and could not be compiled without disproportionate use of staff resources.
Expenditure on the main Criminal Legal Aid Scheme for each of the years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:

Year Expenditure
2018 €62.5million
2019 €62.9 million
2020 €61.7 million
The amount of legal aid paid to Solicitors, Junior Counsel and Senior Counsel under the main Criminal Legal Aid Scheme for each of years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:
Year ExpenditureSolicitors ExpenditureJunior Counsel ExpenditureSenior Counsel
2018 €35,061,481 €13,140,588 €11,433,767
2019 €36,652,929 €13,900,466 €9,787,599
2020 €34,217,662 €13,829,488 €9,408,319
As indicated, criminal prosecutions originate in the District Court and if so satisfied, the Judge will grant a criminal legal aid certificate. Figures are not kept in such a way as to be able to provide a breakdown by county of the number of certificates granted for criminal legal aid or of individuals who were granted criminal legal aid. The Courts Service has informed my Department that the number of legal aid certificates granted in the District Court in each of the years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:
Year
2018
2019
2020
Number of criminal legal aid certificates granted in the District Court
72,674
79,346
73,611
Criminal Assets Bureau Legal Aid Scheme (CAB)
The CAB Scheme, which came into effect from 2 April 1998, is applicable to persons who are respondents and/or defendants in any court proceedings brought by, or in the name of, the Criminal Assets Bureau, including court proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996, the Revenue Acts or the Social Welfare Acts and applications made by the Director of Public Prosecutions under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1994. The responsibility for the administration of the Scheme was transferred from my Department to the Legal Aid Board on 1 January 2014. Expenditure in each of the years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:
Year Expenditure
2018 €147,203
2019 €42,498
2020 €69,373
Garda Station Legal Advice Revised Scheme
The Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme came into effect in 2001. It provides that where a person is detained in a Garda Station for the purpose of the investigation of an offence and s/he has a legal entitlement to consult with a solicitor and the person’s means are insufficient to enable him/her to pay for such consultation, that consultations with solicitors will be paid for by the State. The Scheme, now known as the Garda Station Legal Advice Revised Scheme, was extended in May 2014 to include attendance of a solicitor at a formal interview between the Gardaí and the detainee. The responsibility for the administration of the Scheme was transferred from my Department to the Legal Aid Board on 1 October 2011. Expenditure in each of the years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:
Year Expenditure
2018 €1,947,869
2019 €1,714,245
2020 €1,980,621
District Court Counsel Scheme
The Scheme was introduced in October 2009 following a Supreme Court decision to allow a judge to assign counsel in the District Court to a defendant because of the gravity of the charge and complexity of the case, as well as any other exceptional circumstances.
Following a High Court Judicial Review case in 2016, the Scheme was revised to allow a Circuit Court Judge grant legal aid in respect of a District Court Appeal.
Expenditure under the District Court Counsel Scheme was as follows:
Year Expenditure
2018 €261,606
2019 €452,445
2020 €518,601
The Legal Aid - Custody Issues Scheme (formerly known as the Attorney General’s Legal Aid Scheme)
The Legal Aid - Custody Issues Scheme provides payment for legal representation in the High Court and the Supreme Court for certain types of cases not covered by civil legal aid or the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. The cases covered include Habeas Corpus (Article 40.4.2) Applications, High / Supreme Court Bail Motions, certain types of Judicial Review, Extradition and European Arrest Warrant Applications.
The Scheme was previously administered on behalf of the Attorney General by my Department. From 1st June 2012 the remit for the administration of the Scheme was transferred to the Legal Aid Board.
The expenditure under the Scheme in each of the years 2018 to 2020 was as follows:
Year Expenditure
2018 €2,675,505
2019 €3,201,235
2020 €4,256,682