Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has called for an "immediate examination" of the legal aid system after it emerged terror suspect Abu Hamza's legal battles cost taxpayers almost £1 million.
"Resources aren't limitless" and should be reserved for cases where there is genuine need, Mr Grayling said.
Questioning whether the system provided value for money, the Cabinet minister spoke out after taxpayers were left with a total bill of more than £900,000 for cases involving the radical cleric.
Mr Grayling said: "We must never lose sight of the fact that legal aid is paid for by the taxpayer.
"The total costs in some cases seem very high and many - myself included - will question whether they provide value for money.
"I am concerned about public confidence in the legal aid system."
Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza is due to face a judge in New York.
He and four other terrorism suspects have today arrived in the U.S. after being extradited from Britain.
Abu Hamza, 54, used to preach at Finsbury Park mosque.
The radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza has been flown to the US after judges ruled that he could be extradited on terror charges. He was one of five men to be flown out last night including Babar Ahmad from South London who is accused of running an extremist website.
South London computer expert Babar Ahmad says he will be extradited to the USA with his head held high.
Today, the High Court decided that he should be extradited to the US to face terror charges, along with radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza and three others.
"Today I have lost my eight-year and two-month battle against extradition to the US. I would like to thank all those over the years who supported me and my family: lawyers, politicians, journalists and members of the public from all walks of life.
"By exposing the fallacy of the UK's extradition arrangements with the US, I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory."
"We welcome the High Court decision on Abu Hamza and others."We are now working to extradite these men as quickly as possible."
Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza has been flown to the USA after he lost his last-ditch High Court challenge against extradition.Read the full story ›
Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza has failed in a last-ditch High Court bid to halt his extradition from the UK to the US to stand trial on terrorism charges.
Radical Islamic preacher Abu Hamza is due to hear the result of his latest legal challenge against extradition to the United States, today.Read the full story ›
The High Court has reserved judgment on the extradition of radical cleric Abu Hamza until a later date.
His QC says that an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scan could establish that he is unfit to plead and should not be extradited to the United States to face trial on terrorism charges.
Lawyers for Abu Hamza are asking the High Court for time for medical tests as he renews his legal battle to halt his extradition to the US.Read the full story ›