Response to Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid

Closed 7 Jun 2022

Opened 15 Mar 2022

Results updated 20 Jul 2022

Following careful consideration of responses to consultation, we are now publishing an interim response to consultation and laying a statutory instrument that will increase most fee schemes by 15% in line with our consultation proposals from 30 September 2022.

In addition to increasing fees, we are extending the scope of payment for pre-charge engagement work to cover work done ahead of an agreement, or where an agreement is not reached, in appropriate cases, in line with the Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines. We also intend to abolish fixed fees where individuals elect to have their case heard at the Crown Court, and go on to plead guilty.

A full response to the consultation will be published in the autumn.

Files:

Overview

In December 2021 the department published Sir Christopher Bellamy QC’s independent review into criminal legal aid. This explored what is working well and what more could be done to improve criminal legal aid for providers and the public.

We want to:

  • Use legal aid to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system;
  • Deliver fair pay for work done; and
  • Increase the sustainability and stability of the criminal defence professions.

This consultation now sets out our proposals to reform criminal legal aid and uplift fees in line with these overarching objectives. The consultation seeks views on the implementation of these proposals and their impact on the wider criminal justice system.

This consultation is open to anyone who wishes to make a contribution, but may be of most interest to:

  • Criminal defence professional representative bodies
  • CILEX professional, solicitors, solicitors’ firms, barristers, chambers and other criminal defence practitioners
  • Those otherwise working in the criminal justice system or working with and for suspect and defendants.

Audiences

  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Prosecutors
  • Legal professional bodies

Interests

  • Criminal justice
  • Law
  • Legal aid
  • Access to justice