§ Mr. Michael O'Brien
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what further steps are being taken to review the availability of criminal legal aid in cases where defendants are in custody.
Mr. John M. Taylor
A defendant to criminal proceedings is eligible for legal aid if, in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Aid Act 1988 and legal aid regulations, a court decides that it is in the interests of justice that legal aid be granted and that the defendant's financial resources are such that he or she requires assistance in meeting the costs. The team conducting the review of financial conditions for legal aid is now considering legal aid in all criminal cases. A consultation paper will be issued in the summer.