The figures, which cover the quarter from April to June 2014, show that £49.9m was spent under the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme, which indicates a level of expenditure of less than £200m per annum on the AGFS for 2014.

The same expenditure for 2012 was £264m, which itself was less than in earlier years. In Q2 2014 87,526 people were granted legal aid in the magistrates’ courts. The equivalent figure for Q2 2011 was 104,148 – a fall of 16% in three years. The number of the most serious (indictable-only) cases going to the Crown Court has also fallen.