In brief: Legal aid stays with magistrates

Magistrates courts will continue to grant criminal legal aid, at least for the time being, the Lord Chancellor has revealed in a written answer to a parliamentary question by Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. The question asked if he had reconsidered taking powers for granting legal aid out of the hands of the magistrates courts. Referring to criticism of the courts' procedures by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Lord Mackay said systems had improved. He said any change could now wait until he had decided what to do about his proposals to overhaul the legal aid system, outlined in last year's Green Paper.