Crown Court means testing of criminal legal aid

Closed 11 Dec 2012

Opened 30 Oct 2012

Results updated 5 Jul 2013

As part of the wider drive to deliver efficiencies across the criminal legal aid scheme, as well as to improve its credibility with the public, we published a consultation paper in October 2012 setting out proposals to strengthen the effectiveness of the Crown Court means testing scheme.

We aim to implement a raft of measures to help ensure that defendants comply fully with the terms of the scheme. These measures will facilitate the comprehensive assessment of a defendant’s means so that their potential liability to contribute towards the costs of their defence can be accurately measured and appropriately enforced.

This package of measures will come into force on 1 April 2013, with the exception of motor vehicle orders which will be introduced in July 2013. These will allow for the seizure of a defendant’s motor vehicle in the event of wilful non-compliance with a contribution order, and for the potential sale of the vehicle if the defendant is subsequently convicted. 



The proposals set out in this consultation paper seek to improve the effectiveness of the Crown Court means testing scheme of criminal legal aid. 

Why your views matter

The proposals set out in the consultation paper seek to ensure that defendants comply fully with the requirements of the Crown Court means testing scheme when applying for criminal legal aid. The measures aim to support the comprehensive and accurate assessment which determines whether a defendant should be asked to pay a contribution towards their defence costs as well as reinforcing existing measures to support more effective collection of such contributions.


  • Businesses
  • Citizens
  • Charities
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Bailiffs and Enforcement officers
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Offenders
  • Victims
  • Police and law enforcement professionals


  • Criminal justice