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More offenders to foot legal bills

By Wesleyan

Criminals will be forced to pay for their crimes under new measures introduced by the Government.

Legal aid costs can now be recovered from convicted criminals where their money and assets are frozen.

Previously legal aid, which is funded by the taxpayer, could not be recovered after a conviction.

It meant the only way to recoup costs from criminals was through separate court proceedings that often proved unsuccessful.

But all that has changed from this week.

The Legal Aid Agency is expected to be able to order the recovery of up to an average of £2 million in legal aid each year, under the changes to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

People who are accused of a crime and are wealthy enough to pay for some, or all, of their legal representation will now be required to do so.

Legal aid minister Shailesh Vara says it is right that taxpayers' money is not spent on offenders who can afford to pay their own legal costs.

Copyright Press Association 2015

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