HC Deb 05 February 1996 vol 271 c18
34. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the provision of legal aid to Mr. Ian Brady. [11792]

Mr. Jonathan Evans

Decisions on the granting of civil legal aid are taken by the Legal Aid Board according to statutory tests. It is essential that decisions on the granting of civil legal aid are made independently and are seen to be free from political or Government interference.

Mr. Greenway

I well understand my hon. Friend's point, but is he aware that many people are extremely puzzled that Ian Brady has been granted legal aid to challenge in the High Court a judgment by the Press Complaints Commission, which does not have any judicial authority, while other people who appear to be much more deserving cannot obtain legal aid?

Mr. Evans

I am aware of the concern expressed by my hon. Friend from other correspondence received in my Department. I am pleased that my hon. Friend recognises that, for the reasons that I outlined, it is inappropriate for Ministers to comment on individual cases. In such circumstances, the matter is one for the Legal Aid Board. I am sure that my hon. Friend will draw his remarks to its attention.

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