People on lower income who are accused of crimes are eligible for legal aid from the government to cover their costs for a solicitor. however, if they are found guilty, they are required to pay back the costs for the legal aid or part of them, depending on their financial situation. This aid has been assigned in order to ensure everyone has access to proper legal service, when accused of crime. However, it turned out that only one fifth of the costs have been paid back by the criminals last year- just £1.8m out of £10 m.
That`s why the government is now working on tougher measures for debtors, refusing to pay back their legal aid costs, when found guilty. Hopefully the planned measures will have an effect and more criminals will pay back their legal aid debt. According to the plans the new measure will feature:
- If criminals refuse to provide the required financial information, for an assessment of how much they should pay pack, they will be assigned to pay the full amount of the legal aid received. This way, criminals will not be able to avoid actions against them, by simply not responding.
- If someone is trying to deceive the system by claiming less earnings or assets, in order to pay lower amount, they will be entitled to pay an extra sum, in addition to their estimated pay back amount.
- The government will be given more power to deal with the assets of the criminals, who refuse to pay back their legal aid costs.
Chris Grayling, justice Minister said: ”These proposals set out robust measures that will see more costs recuperated from criminals.”It is not right that law-abiding citizens foot the bill when those concerned can pay.”
At the moment the MoJ is undertaking a consultation on the potential of the proposed measures, which is expected to end on the 11th of December.
At The Legal Stop, we are not eligible to fund any legal aid costs, however, we can provide a great legal service, offering you the highest quality legal documents at the lowest possible prices.