About the Legal Aid Agency
The Legal Aid Agency provides both civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales.
Our work is essential to the fair, effective and efficient operation of the civil and criminal justice systems. We are a delivery organisation which commissions and procures legal aid services from providers (solicitors, barristers and the not-for-profit sector).
The Legal Aid Agency is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. It came into existence on 1 April 2013 following the abolition of the Legal Services Commission as a result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.
The Act created the new statutory office of the Director of Legal Casework. The Director will take decisions on the funding of individual cases. Processes have been put in place to ensure the Legal Aid Agency is able to demonstrate independence of decision-making. There will be an annual report published about these decisions.
Our strategic objectives
Our priorities are to:
- improve casework to reduce cost, enhance control and give better customer service
- improve organisational capability to meet the challenges ahead, including developing and engaging our people
- build and maintain strong partnerships to secure quality provision and contribute fully to wider justice and Government aims
Other parts of our organisation
Public Defender Service
The Public Defender Service (PDS) is a department of the Legal Aid Agency that operates alongside private providers delivering a full range of quality services within the criminal defence market from advice and representation at the police station and magistrates courts through to advocacy in the higher courts.
In addition to a strong team of police station representatives, duty solicitors and solicitor advocates, the PDS has recently employed three QCs. Greg Bull QC has been Leader of the Wales and Chester Circuit and has substantial experience and expertise in criminal law, fraud and regulatory work. Alun Jenkins QC brings extensive experience and expertise in a wide range of complex fraud cases. David Aubrey QC, who similarly brings substantial expertise in serious, sensitive and complex criminal cases, joins PDS in March 2014 as Head of Advocacy,
Instructing solicitors may approach PDS to act in complex cases, VHCCs and to instruct in returned briefs.
Criminal Defence clients
Clients facing investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence may contact a PDS office near their locality to seek advice and representation.
Civil Legal Advice
Civil Legal Advice (CLA) is a national advice service for England and Wales, paid for by legal aid. You can find out more about Civil Legal Advice at www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice