§ Mr. Byers
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which are the three legal aid area boards with the highest and lowest grant rates in percentage terms in respect of legal aid applications made to magistrates courts by defendants charged with(a) causing actual bodily harm, (b) shoplifting, (c) drink-driving, (d) criminal damage and (e) possession of an offensive weapon; and what was the percentage in each case.
Mr. John M. Taylor
The information is not available in the form requested. Between April 1991 and March 1992, the area committees of the Legal Aid Board with the highest approval rates in respect of criminal legal aid were: East Midlands (91.7 per cent.), South Western (82.1 per cent.) and North Western (70.7 per cent.). The three area committees with the lowest approval rates were: Northern (46.5 per cent.), Merseyside (47 per cent.) and West Midlands (49.4 per cent.). Renewed applications may also be made to the courts. The area committees deal only with applications which have previously been rejected by the courts. Statistics reflecting the nature of the offence are not kept.