555. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated full year cost of reducing free civil legal aid by €70, €80, €90 and €100 respectively in tabular form. [25703/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Legal Aid Board is the statutory body responsible for the provision of legal advice and legal aid to persons of insufficient means in civil cases. The Board has supplied the financial analysis below, which is for general information purposes only, and is subject to a number of assumptions including level of demand and case profile.
It should be noted that civil legal aid is not free in the vast majority of cases. The contribution for which a person is liable will depend on their disposable income and capital assets. Persons who receive civil legal services are generally obliged to pay a financial contribution of €30 for legal advice and a further minimum contribution of €130 if they require representation in court. The Board has a discretionary facility to waive contributions in instances of undue hardship and certain circumstances for example, defence of District Court child care proceedings.
Using the contributions figure collected in 2017 (provisional figure €1,647,517) as a base line, the table below sets out what the Board’s estimated income in contributions would be if the legal aid contribution was reduced by the specified figures and the consequent loss of income that would accrue to the Board.
For the purposes of answering the Deputy’s query, where the reduction referred to is greater than the contribution currently being collected, it has been reduced to zero. For example, a contribution of €79 is, for the purposes of applying an €80, €90, and €100 reduction, reduced by €79 to €0 in all instances.
|If Aid Contribution were Reduced by €70||If Aid Contribution were Reduced by €80||If Aid Contribution were Reduced by €90||If Aid Contribution were Reduced by €100|
|Amount which would have been collected in 2017||€1,067,236||€992,588||€918,887||€845,459|
|Difference from amount actually collected in 2017||-€580,281||-€654,929||-€728,630||-€802,058|