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Legal aid: Offenders face losing vehicles in legal-aid clampdown

The Justice Secretary has announced plans to recover the costs of legal-aid fees by seizing vehicles owned by defendants, reports The Daily Mail.

The Government's attack on the legal-aid budget looks set to continue, as the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to recover the cost of providing legal aid from some defendants by seizing their motor vehicles.

The Government is targeting those found guilty of a crime, who must then ordinarily pay back the cost of their legal-aid representation. 

At present, much of the money owed by those convicted is not recovered, because the individuals cannot afford the repayments.

However, the Government is now proposing asset seizure, with auctions to recover money that can then be put towards their legal-aid bills.

In a populist speech likely to bring delight to many, Mr Grayling said: "I am clear - you can't avoid paying your legal-aid bill and expect to keep a fancy car on the driveway."

"We must bring down the cost of legal aid and our starting point has to be that law-abiding citizens don't foot the bill when those concerned could pay themselves," he added.

The proposals will allow the Legal Aid Agency to apply to the courts for Motor Vehicle Orders immediately, allowing them to recover money tied up in vehicle assets.

Statistics show that of the £43.6m owed to the Legal Aid Agency by those convicted of crime, just 22% was recovered last year.