339. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of free legal aid in 2014. [40664/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I wish to inform the Deputy that the provision of legal aid falls within two separate categories, that is, civil legal aid and criminal legal aid. Details in respect of each category are outlined below.
Criminal Legal Aid
The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted in certain circumstances for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Under the 1962 Act, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid. An applicant must establish to the satisfaction of the Court that their means are insufficient to enable them to pay for legal representation themselves. In 2014, the cost of providing criminal legal aid was €53.1m.
Civil Legal Aid
The Legal Aid Board is tasked with providing civil legal aid. In 2014, the Legal Aid Board received total Exchequer funding of €32.574 million. This includes funding for the provision of the Family Mediation Service, for which the Board assumed responsibility in late 2011. The Board also generated its own income of €2.63 million, largely through contributions from clients towards the cost of the service and costs recovered, giving a total budget of just over €35.2 million.