Minister Flanagan welcomes the publication of the Legal Aid Board Annual Report 2017
28 September 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today laid the Legal Aid Board Annual Report 2017 before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Minister Flanagan said, “I welcome the Annual Report of the Legal Aid Board and would like to thank and acknowledge the Chairman, Mr. Philip O’Leary, the members of the Board and the Chief Executive, Mr John McDaid and his staff for their dedicated work during the year.”
The Minister continued: “The Legal Aid Board plays a pivotal role in society providing legal aid to those who cannot afford to retain a private solicitor and I am pleased that there has been continuous improvement regarding the number of persons waiting for legal services. This is the fifth successive year where there has been a decrease in the numbers.
The Minister noted the ongoing demands on law centres and that this can lead to an increase in waiting times at specific centres. There were 1,776 persons waiting at the end of the (2017) year for legal services. Although a modest reduction on 2016, it is down from over 5,000 in 2013.
“Of particular note is the Board’s work on family mediation. Since the transfer of responsibility for mediation to the Board in 2011, it has sought to integrate the delivery of mediation and legal aid services. As a first step in this regard, the Board has pursued a strategy of co-locating the offices for the provision of legal aid services and mediation and I was happy to officially open, on 22 June 2018, the third of these co-located offices in Kilkenny.”
The Minister also welcomed the work of the Board on the Abhaile scheme, noting that 2017 marked the first full operational year of the Scheme which was launched in 2016. The Scheme provides financial and legal assistance for insolvent persons who are in danger of having their home repossessed. Applications under the scheme increased from 523 in 2016 to 2,402 in 2017.
Notes for Editors
The Legal Aid Board is a statutory independent body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice to persons of modest means in accordance with the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995. The Board is also responsible for delivery of the State-funded Family Mediation Service.
The Board’s budget was maintained and increased during the recession. It has seen its budget allocation increase by 28% over the 2011- 2017 period. The budget allocation for 2018 is €40.275m - which is a 3% increase on 2017.