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Criminal Defence Service Bill
AIM
This bill cuts legal aid spending, giving greater priority to people who need legal aid to pursue civil cases, rather than criminal defendants.

MAIN PROVISIONS
BILL'S PROGRESS
Responsible department: Dept for Constitutional Affairs
Origin: House of Lords
Introduced: 23 May 2005
Second reading: 13 June 2005
Committee stages: 28,30 June 2005
Report stage: 17 October 2005
Third reading: 24 Oct 2005
Consideration of Commons amendments: 13 March 2006

COMMONS:

First reading: 24 Oct 2005
Second reading: 13 Dec 2005
Committee stage: 10 Jan 2006
Remaining stages: 26 Jan 2006

ROYAL ASSENT: 30 March 2006

  • Re-introduces a means test - currently limited to Crown Court - for criminal defendants in magistrates' courts

  • Transfers power for granting legal aid from the magistrates' courts to the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

    BACKGROUND
    The government claim criminal legal aid has increased dramatically and this bill could save 35m out of the Criminal Defence Service's 1.1bn budget.


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