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Question

128. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of providing free legal aid and free civil aid over the past seven years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10342/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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.
Civil Legal Aid
The Legal Aid Board, established under the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 provides civil legal aid and advice to persons of limited means, who cannot afford to pay a solicitor privately. The Legal Aid Board operates 30 full time law centres and a number of part time law centres in Ireland.
The majority of the Board's income consists of a grant received from the Department of Justice and Equality. Funding provided by my Department for the last seven years is provided in the table.

Year Expenditure €000
2017 39,708
2016 34,838
2015 32,471
2014 32,574
2013 33,759
2012 32,922
2011 30,370

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. I have no function in such determinations.

Year Expenditure €000
2017 58,139
2016 52,998
2015 50,879
2014 49,890
2013 50,863
2012 50,534
2011 56,116