Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : New Chair of the Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board appointed [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Ministry of Justice on 20 July 2023.

The Lord Chancellor has approved the appointment of Her Honour Deborah Taylor as the new Chair of the Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board for 18 months from July 2023.

The CLAAB was established following Lord Bellamy’s Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) recommendation that an independent Advisory Board be established to take a wider view and encourage a more joined-up approach to criminal legal aid within the criminal justice system.

The CLAAB will ensure that criminal defence practitioners have ongoing input into the future development of the criminal legal aid system.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk said:

Her Honour Deborah Taylor’s extensive experience in criminal law will be invaluable to the Board as we continue our work to strengthen the legal aid system.

Legal Aid is a crucial part of ensuring victims get access to justice and strengthening the rule of law, and our reforms are putting it on a sustainable footing both now and for the future.


HH Deborah Taylor was a Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge at Southwark Crown Court and Recorder of Westminster until her retirement from the Judiciary in December 2022. In 2022 she was Treasurer of Inner Temple, where she advocated for greater diversity at the Bar.

Since March 2023, Deborah has been Chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) which deals with doctors’ fitness to practise and ensures members of the public are adequately protected. Deborah is also a member of the Advisory Board of Durham University Law School and a Trustee of Shakespeare’s Globe.


The CLAAB’s purpose is to provide independent advice to the Lord Chancellor on the operation and structure of the existing and future criminal legal aid schemes and to assess how these schemes should adapt to support a high-performing criminal justice system and the wider objectives of the legal profession.

The CLAAB has met three times since it was first established – in October 2022, then in January and April 2023. The Board will meet again on 20 July 2023.

The membership currently includes representatives from the Bar Council, the Law Society, Criminal Bar Association, London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, CILEX and Ministry of Justice officials.