Independent review of criminal legal aid: Call for Evidence

Closed 28 May 2021

Opened 29 Mar 2021


This consultation has been extended to 28th May 2021.

The Independent Review is focussed on the long-term sustainability of Criminal Legal Aid in England & Wales. The Review will consider the Criminal Legal Aid System in its entirety, specifically it seeks to ensure that it:

  1.  provides high quality legal advice and representation;
  2.  is provided through a diverse set of practitioners;
  3.  is appropriately funded;
  4.  is responsive to user needs both now and in the future;
  5.  contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System;
  6.  is transparent;
  7.  is resilient; and
  8.  is delivered in a way that provides value for money to the taxpayer.

The Independent Review’s Terms of Reference set out five themes: resilience, transparency, competition, efficiency and diversity that the Review will consider. The Review will also be considering the impacts of the pandemic on the Criminal Legal Aid System and any interlinks with the five themes.

Where possible, the Review will draw on existing evidence and the information obtained during the first phase of the Criminal Legal Aid Review. The Review will also be collecting new evidence through a variety of methods with the Call for Evidence being a key feature.

The Criminal Legal Aid System interacts with other parts of the wider justice system, and consequently overlaps with the operation of the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and the Judiciary, among others. As such the Review will consider how Criminal Legal Aid operates within the wider Criminal Justice System.

Sir Christopher Bellamy, Chair of the Review, is inviting interested parties at the heart of the Criminal Legal Aid System to submit evidence on how the system as a whole can be improved and placed on a sustainable footing for the future. We are particularly, but not exclusively interested in hearing the views of criminal defence practitioners, representative bodies, charities and end users of the system. We also invite contributions from academics who have carried out relevant research. All questions do not need to be answered if respondents are only interested in some aspects of the Call for Evidence.


  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Prosecutors
  • Legal professional bodies


  • Criminal justice
  • Legal aid
  • Access to justice