HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 cc186-7W
39. Mr. Hawkins

To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department what cost savings he estimates will accrue from his planned reforms to the legal system and its administration. [65868]

Mr. Hoon

The Government are undertaking a wide-ranging programme of reforms of the legal system and its administration. The most significant elements of that programme are: the establishment of the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service and the measures to reduce delay in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) in the Access to Justice Bill currently before Parliament; and the implementation of the first phase of reform of the civil justice system in April 1999.

Saving money is not the Government's objective. The reforms of the system should make it easier for those wishing to resolve disputes to do so effectively. Those who need to seek assistance from a solicitor should find that costs are more predictable and the risks of litigation much less. No-win no-fee arrangements between lawyers and private clients in more cases will give greater access to justice. Contracting for publicly funded legal services will provide cost effective, quality assured and properly targeted help to those most in need and the taxpayer will get better value for money from what we spend. We will direct resources to areas of greater need or into areas where the market cannot provide necessary services.

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