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Ministry of Justice

Crown Court means testing draft regulations

Status: Closed - with response

Open date: 14 July 2009

Close date: 05 October 2009

Responses published: 28 October 2009

This consultation paper sets out the details of the draft regulations for the introduction of means testing for criminal legal aid in the Crown Court. The proposals are designed to help ensure that the government continues to target resources at those who need them most, giving the taxpayer better value for money.

Crown Court means testing will fairly and effectively require all those defendants who can genuinely afford to pay all or some of their legal aid costs – on the basis of their income and capital – to do so. At the same time, it ensures that all those who would genuinely find it difficult to pay a contribution continue to have access to free legal aid.

Consultation paper


A total of 15 responses to the consultation paper were received. 

The views expressed demonstrated support for the principle that those defendants who are able to afford to contribute towards their legal aid should do so. There were some concerns raised about a variety of points both with relation to the draft regulations and the policy.

We have concluded that Crown Court means testing provides the best option for targeting legal aid at those who need it most and securing best value for money for the taxpayer.