Ministry of Justice

Criminal Defence Service (Recovery of Defence Costs Orders) Regulations 2001

Status: Closed - with response

Open date: 30 August 2007

Close date: 21 November 2007

Responses published: 10 September 2008

This consultation sought views on proposals to make changes to the Recovery of Defence Costs Order scheme to ensure it is as effective as possible.

Recovery of Defence Costs Orders were introduced in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal in April 2001 following the abolition of the means test. The Access to Justice Act 1999 provided a power where at the end of the case, if the defendant is convicted, the court may, subject to regulations, make an order requiring the individual to pay all or some of the costs incurred in defending him or her.

Consultation paper

The aim of the consultation was to ensure that those defendants who can pay towards the cost of their defence do so, and to ensure that judges can make Recovery of Defence Costs Orders in appropriate cases, which are recoverable.

Comments were not sought on the underlying policy of Recovery of Defence Costs Orders against a means testing policy nor on how to better recover legal costs against the conflicting priorities of other financial orders.


There were eleven responses to the consultation, and these were generally positive toward all of the proposals and supported the purpose of the changes. Following the responses the department accepted a number of proposed amendments to the regulations and made several of the amendments, which included an explicit link between means and a Recovery of Defence Costs Order and to include appeals against sentence in the Crown Court.