10 March 2017
Simon Danczuk has continued to press the Government to look into fraudulent uses of legal aid.
Speaking in Parliament, Simon asked the Minister for Court and Justice (Sir Oliver Heald): “What proportion of legal aid is allocated to cases of foreign nationals convicted in the UK who are appealing against deportation?”
Unhelpfully, the Minister was unable to answer, saying that: “It is not possible to isolate cases of that type using the data recorded by the Legal Aid Agency”.
Commenting on the Minister’s response, Simon said: “The Minister couldn’t answer a simple question. I find it remarkable that the Government doesn’t have a clue about the amount money it spends on legal aid”.
Highlighting the alleged bad practice of the lawyers for the Rochdale grooming gang, Burton and Burton, Simon said that Justice McCloskey had condemned them for “gaming the system” for their own advantage. Simon asked: “What steps is the Minister taking to look at the bad use of legal aid?”
The Minister replied: “As the hon. Gentleman may know, the Legal Aid Agency does investigate cases that are brought to its attention, and there have been recent examples where contracts have been removed. It is also important to make the point that, even where there is the possibility of legal aid and representation for foreign national offenders, it is limited to cases involving the refugee convention”.