Independent review, chaired by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, calls for £135m to save criminal legal aid

20 Dec 2021
Sir Christopher Bellamy

Twelve months after his appointment to chair an independent review of the Criminal Legal Aid system, Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, leading the Criminal Legal Aid Review (CLAR), has published the 160 page “Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid”.

The report makes the case for funding for criminal legal aid to be increased for solicitors and barristers as soon as possible to an annual level of ‘at least 15%’ above present levels to ensure that a “level playing field” between defendants and prosecutors was maintained. “£135m is, in my view, the minimum necessary as the first step in nursing the system of criminal legal aid back to health after years of neglect,” warns Sir Christopher as the report tells ministers that funding is vital to stem the exodus of lawyers from criminal justice and the current backlog in the crown court system.

In a written ministerial statement, Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab promises a full response no later than the end of March 2022.

You can read the full report here.

Published on the 15th December, the review and its findings has received considerable media interest including The Times, the BBC and The Law Society Gazette.