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Home > Publications > Past legislation > Criminal Defence Service Act 2006

Criminal Defence Service Act 2006

The Criminal Defence Service Act, which received Royal Assent on 30 March 2006, provides for two enabling powers that will facilitate the introduction of a new means testing scheme and the transfer of responsibility for the grant of legal aid from the courts to the Legal Services Commission. The new scheme was implemented across magistrates' courts on 2 October 2006.

Background and useful information

Supporting documents

CDS Act 2006 Review of Means Testing Scheme

On 16 January 2007, Vera Baird responded to the Law Society's request that the Government commits publicly to a review of the means testing scheme.

Alongside her reply letter, Vera Baird added:
'Just over 150,000 applications have now been processed since the means test was introduced in October and in many areas the new scheme is bedding down.

'I am grateful for the constructive feedback I have received about the means test from practitioners all over the country and from our excellent staff at HMCS. They helped me to sculpt the changes I made in November, which have undoubtedly improved things. The new shorter form will be available on 29 January, and I am staying in close touch, as before, while they too settle in.'

'I will be reviewing in detail the first six months of the new scheme later this year and look forward to constructive engagement with the profession and court staff as part of the review.'

Legislative passage

Lords First reading 23 May 2005
Lords Second reading 13 June 2005
Lords Grand Committee 28 June 2005
Lords Report stage 17 October 2005
Lords Third reading 24 October 2005
Commons Second reading 13 December 2005
Lords Consideration of Commons' amendments 13 March 2006
Lords Royal Assent 30 March 2006
Commons Royal Assent 30 March 2006


The Criminal Defence Service Act 2006 will come into force through a series of regulations and Statutory Instruments. Those concerning the work of magistrates' courts took effect from 2 October 2006. Subsequent regulations implementing other provisions of the Act will be made in due course.

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