The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) provides both civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales.

Its work is essential to the fair, effective and efficient operation of the civil and criminal justice systems. It is 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 which 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.

LAA strategic objectives

Its 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.

Services provided to LAA include:

  • acting as collection and enforcement agent for the Crown Court Means Testing scheme; and
  • debt collection activity for unpaid contributions following the award of legal aid to pursue or defend civil actions in the County Courts.

Find out more about the Legal Aid Agency here.