Legal Aid

The government responds to an online petition to end means testing

PUBLISHED January 2, 2007

The Government remains committed to the principle that those who can afford to pay for their own criminal defence should do so. This is a view shared by many practitioners within the legal profession.

The Government is aware that solicitors have raised a number of concerns with certain practical aspects of the new scheme. It has always been recognised that in introducing a new means test of this sort, there would be a period of transition. We have consistently made clear that the new means testing scheme will be kept under active review and indeed last week, Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department for Constitutional Affairs Vera Baird announced a number of improvements to the operational effectiveness of the scheme, including changes to the Early Cover Scheme and proposals to amend the application forms.

Over coming weeks and months, it is hoped that by continuing to work with the legal profession and other key stakeholders, it will be possible to ensure that the new means testing scheme works effectively and fairly for all.