Legal Aid Agency names new chief executive

Topics: Legal aid and access to justice,Government & politics

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  • Shaun McNally

A senior civil servant who has helped save millions of pounds through reform of the courts estate is to take charge at the Legal Aid Agency.

The agency today announced that Shaun McNally CBE (pictured) will become chief executive from 1 April. He will be responsible for the agency’s ‘day-to-day running’.


The current chief executive, Matthew Coats, becomes head of operations group as part of his expanded role as the Ministry of Justice’s chief operating officer.

The agency’s announcement states that Coats will be responsible for transforming the ministry’s corporate services and delivering ‘fundamental’ changes to make the ministry’s London headquarters ‘smaller and smarter’.

McNally joined the agency as director of case management in October 2012.

According to his biography on the government’s website, McNally leads the multidisciplinary teams that process all civil, criminal and high-cost legal aid applications for England and Wales. This includes around two million transactions with a value of more than £1.5bn.

McNally’s LinkedIn profile states that, as director of operations and performance for HM Courts Service between 2008 and 2011, he 'led' the courts estates reform programme, 'creating the overall strategy, planning and implementation, and overall ministerial stakeholder engagement’.

He highlights the announcement made in parliament on 14 December 2010 to close 93 magistrates’ courts, 49 county courts and merger of 50 local justice areas, saving £41.5m during the spending review period at the time, as well as £38.5m from the sale of assets.

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