HC Deb 17 May 1993 vol 225 c17
38. Mr. Vaz

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a further statement on changes in the legal aid scheme.

Mr. John M. Taylor

Changes to the permanent payment on account scheme for barristers came into effect on 1 April. Changes to the financial conditions for legal aid came into effect on 12 April. Standard fees are to be introduced in the magistrates courts on 1 June.

Mr. Vaz

Further to the inadequate reply that the Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen), is he aware that reported cases of domestic violence in London have increased by 1,000 per cent. in eight years and that for the victims of domestic violence legal representation is very much a case of the difference between life and death? If evidence is brought before the Minister or the Lord Chancellor to show that justice has been denied because of the increase in payment being required of the Department, will he reverse the savage cuts?

Mr. Taylor

I would not be able to reverse the decision even if I wanted to because it was a decision taken by the House with a majority of 49 votes. The hon. Gentleman asked whether the Lord Chancellor and I are receptive to evidence. The answer is, of course we are.