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Justice | Cost to the state of legal aid

To ask the Minister for Justice the total cost to the State of legal aid in each of the past five years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


As the Deputy will be aware, there are two categories of legal aid; civil legal aid and criminal legal aid.

The provision of civil legal aid in the State is delivered by the independent Legal Aid Board pursuant to the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995, as amended, and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996 to 2017. The Board also provides family mediation services and operates 30 full-time law centres and a number of part-time law centres in Ireland.

The majority of the Board’s income consists of a grant received from my Department. This funding is used to provide the Board’s services in all of its offices across the country, as well as to support services provided to law centres centrally from the Board’s Head Office.

The funding provided to the Legal Aid Board by my Department for the years 2017-2022 is provided in the table below:

2018€40.3 million  
2019€40.8 million  
2020€42.2 million
2021    €44.6 million  
2022€47.9 million  

Regarding criminal legal aid, the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962, which is the primary legislation covering the operation of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, provides that free legal aid may be granted, in certain circumstances, for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Under the 1962 Act, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid. Under the Constitution, the State is obliged to provide an accused person with the means to obtain appropriate legal representation.

Expenditure on criminal legal aid in each of the years 2016 to 2021 is set out in the table below:


2018€64.8 million  
2019€65.1 million  
2020€62.2 million
2021    €73.4 million  
2022 (1January to 31 May)  €29.554 million



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