Legal Aid

Police Station Investigations

All Police Station Investigations irrespective of your personal financial circumstances are paid by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) under the Legal Aid Scheme. This will normally only include attendances and interviews at Police Stations. Work outside of Police Station attendances, whilst the matter is still under investigation are not normally covered under the scheme, and may attract pre-charge costs, but this would be very unusual. You may be eligible for advice, under the advice and assistance scheme, subject to financial eligibility.

Non-Police Investigations

Investigations by agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions, RSPCA, or similar organisations, will not be covered by the Police Investigation Scheme mentioned above. If you are financially eligible, the advice and assistance scheme may enable us to assist you.

Magistrates Court

We can make an application to the LAA, for Legal Aid in Magistrates Court proceedings on your behalf. Legal Aid is provided by the Legal Aid Agency, further information can be found on their website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/legal-aid-agency

Most Legal Aid applications are Means Tested and subject to an Interest of Justice test. Anyone under the age of 18 years, will be automatically financially eligible. Most persons in receipt of state benefits will be eligible but will still be subject to the means test. If you are in employment, you will have to provide evidence of income, and certain outgoings (housing, maintenance, and child costs). The means test does not consider a lot of normal household expenses such as personal loans, car finance, insurance premiums and other similar household expenses. If Legal Aid is granted, this will cover the cost of defence representation in Court. This will not cover any liability on conviction for Prosecution and Court costs. You will be notified in writing by the LAA of the outcome of your application. If refused on the Interest of Justice, or you feel there has been an error on your Means Test, we can advice you on how to appeal those decisions.

 

Crown Court

As all cases commence at the Magistrates Court, the above tests also apply to cases in the Crown Court. Should you be granted Legal Aid in the Magistrates Court, this same certificate will automatically cover your Crown Court case.  However, there are some differences in the financial eligibility rules. If you have an annual household disposable income of £37,500 or more, you will not be eligible for Legal Aid in a Crown Court case. If your disposable income is above £3,398 but less than £37,500, you’ll have to make an income contribution towards your costs. If you have above £30K in capital and equity and are convicted, you may have to contribute towards any remaining balance against your final defence costs.

If you eligible for Legal Aid subject to an income contribution, those will be paid over the first 6 months of your case. If you find the contribution level unacceptable, then you must inform us immediately, so we can reject the offer of Legal Aid. This must be done within 21 days otherwise you will be deemed to have accepted the offer, and the LAA will seek payment of the contribution from you. Enforcement action can be taken by the LAA should you not pay the contribution, which can incur further costs and court proceedings.

At the conclusion of your case the LAA will refund any contribution should you be acquitted (plus 2% interest). Upon conviction, the LAA may determine that contribution was initially too high and will refund the difference between your contribution and the new calculated amount. If the LAA determine the contribution paid is less then the final amount, then you will have to make a further capital contribution.

If you are refused Legal Aid on financial eligibility, a hardship application can be made, and we can assist you when completing the relevant forms.

Appeals

Should you be granted Legal Aid, this will also cover any advice on appeal in respect to Magistrates Court case, but a new application will have to be made for the actual appeal proceedings in the Crown Court. This new application is subject to the same tests listed above.

Appeals from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal initially require positive advice on appeal by the instructed Counsel. The original Legal Aid will cover the Counsels advice on appeal, and ourselves submitting the forms to ask for Leave to Appeal. A single Court of Appeal Judge will then determine if the case has any merits, if so, they will also determine if Legal Aid is extended to cover our preparation costs and Counsel’s attendance at the hearing.

 

Private Funding

Your Solicitors fees are calculated based on the work type, as shown in the table below:

Work Type                                                                         Fee

Preparation, including attendances.                            £200.00 +VAT per hour

Advocacy                                                                           £200.00 +VAT per hour

Travel and Waiting                                                           £110.00 +VAT per hour

Routine telephone calls and letters                              £20.00 +VAT per item

There may be other expenses such as, but not limited to Expert Reports, Counsels Fees, Enquiry Agents Fees, Travel Expenses (Mileage at 45p per mile, Parking, Public Transport Costs).

We can also offer a Fixed Fee arrangement in cases, which can be discussed on an individual case basis.

For a non-complex Magistrates Court Trial at our local Court, our normal fee would be £1,000.00 +VAT. This would include all the work types referred to above.

For simple Guilty plea cases, we would expect our fees to be £500.00 +VAT.

Crown Court Cases involve the same work type fees listed above from ourselves, but in addition will incur Counsels fees, which we will discuss with Counsels Clerk, and will form part of our final bill.

If cases are more complex, include additional or lengthy hearings, or are at non-local Courts, then the estimates above would have to be revised.

Payments can be made by cash, cheque, bank transfer or credit/debit card. Payments will be made into our Client Account and the funds must clear before the court appearance.

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