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Retired judge becomes chair of criminal legal aid board

Retired judge becomes chair of criminal legal aid board


Deborah Taylor will chair the Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board for 18 months from July 2023.

The Ministry of Justice announced Taylor's appointment on 20 July.  She was a senior circuit judge, resident judge at Southwark Crown Court and Recorder of Westminster until her retirement from the Judiciary in December 2022. In 2022 she was treasurer of Inner Temple, where she advocated for greater diversity at the Bar.

Since March 2023, Taylor has been chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service which deals with doctors’ fitness to practise and ensures members of the public are adequately protected. She is also a member of the advisory board of Durham University Law School.

The Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board (CLAAB) was established following Lord Bellamy’s Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review, which recommended the creation of an independent advisory board to take a wider view and encourage a more joined-up approach to criminal legal aid within the criminal justice system. The CLAAB enables criminal defence lawyers to provide continuing input into the  development of the criminal legal aid system.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk said: Her Honour Deborah Taylor’s extensive experience in criminal law will be invaluable to the board as we continue our work to strengthen the legal aid system. Legal Aid is a crucial part of ensuring victims get access to justice and strengthening the rule of law, and our reforms are putting it on a sustainable footing both now and for the future.