Legal aid authority proposed
The Legal Aid Department's three most senior officials should be answerable to a legal aid authority, a consultants' report suggests.
The report, commissioned by the Legal Aid Services Council, was set up in 1996 to study how to provide independent legal aid.
The consultants put forward a number of options, but said setting up a legal aid authority to oversee the department and employ its head and two deputies was the best value for money.
It is believed to be a compromise between pressure groups' calls for the independence of the Legal Aid Department and government reservations about such a move.
The report's recommendations will be given to the Chief Executive by August.