News story

Crime news: recovery of defence costs from restrained assets

Starting on 1 June 2015 we have new powers to recover legal aid payments from convicted criminals.

We have new powers from 1 June 2015 to recover legal aid payments from restrained assets.

The powers will allow us to recover the payments from convicted criminals who can afford to pay their own defence costs.

What are restrained assets?

The assets of defendants are identified under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 which are restrained by the court. This means the assets cannot be spent or moved by the individual concerned.

After conviction these assets are then used by the court to pay victims’ compensation or make confiscation orders.

What changes on 1 June 2015?

Changes being made on 1 June 2015 mean that any assets remaining after the above payments have been made could remain ‘restrained’.

This means the court could also allow the Legal Aid Agency to use these assets to pay for outstanding legal aid costs or contributions in appropriate cases.

Further information

Explanatory Memorandum to The Criminal Legal Aid (Contribution Orders) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

The Criminal Legal Aid (Contribution Orders) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

The Restraint Orders (Legal Aid Exception and Relevant Legal Aid Payments) Regulations 2015

Provider training website – for training on new arrangements and to download factsheet