Response to Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid

Closed 7 Jun 2022

Opened 15 Mar 2022

Results updated 30 Nov 2022

This is the government’s full response to the criminal legal aid independent review and consultation on policy proposals. It follows the interim response to the criminal legal aid independent review and consultation on policy proposals’ which was published in July 2022 following the closure of the consultation in June 2022.

The interim response committed to increase most fees by 15% which came into force on the 30 September 2022. Further proposals were announced on 11 October and we were also able to lay a Statutory Instrument in October 2022 to apply the 15% increase to cases that already had a determination to grant legal aid after 17 September 2020 but had not yet had a main hearing.

This document focuses on longer-term reform rather than the immediate fee increases that were covered by the interim response. This response provides a summary of the consultation questions and the responses received as well as a detailed government response and policy proposals for each theme and specific questions raised in CLAIR and the consultation.



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.


  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Prosecutors
  • Legal professional bodies


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