Will the new means tests see a two-tier legal system created? And will poorer clients suffer? Lisa Mountford and Martin Hannibal report

With the ink barely dry on Lord Carter’s final recommendations on the future of legal aid procurement, of more immediate concern for criminal lawyers has been the re-introduction of means testing in criminal cases. The effect of the change is that, since 2 October 2006, as a result of reforms introduced under the Criminal Defence Service Act 2006, a client must satisfy both the means and the merits tests to qualify for a representation order in summary proceedings.

New application procedure

All applicants applying for a representation order are now required to complete the new CDS Form 14. The form is submitted to the magistrates’ court at which the defendant is to make his first appearance wi...

Jean Yves


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