We offer extremely competitive rates for anyone funding their legal advice or representation on a private basis. In many situations we are able to offer an agreed fee for the work involved which means you can be confident of the costs involved right from the beginning. In those situations where we agree an hourly rate, these rates are not only competitive but are also commensurate to the level and expertise of the lawyer doing the work. We will be happy to discuss our private rates with you to ensure you receive the very highest level of representation while keeping the costs affordable. Please do not hesitate to contact either Charles Worthington or Ben Holden for further information.
Depending upon the nature of the allegation and where the proceedings are being conducted Legal Aid may be available to those who cannot afford to fund their defence on a private basis. However, in recent years legal aid has been cut back and severely restricted in many circumstances. For full details regarding legal aid in the criminal courts please see the Legal Aid Agency's Legal Aid Calculator. If you would like advice as to whether you might be eligible for legal aid in your specific case you should contact a member of our crime team. Below is a guide to when legal aid is generally available.
Legal aid is available to anyone who is going to be questioned at a police station or anywhere other than a police station in the presence of a police officer. Legal aid in the police station is not restricted by the nature or seriousness of the offence or by the financial means of the detained person. It can, however, be restricted by the procedure being conducted by the police and is generally only sufficient for one attendance by a legal representative.
Other criminal investigations
If a criminal investigation is being conducted by the Council, or another public body, then legal aid is available to those of limited financial means. Legal aid ‘advice and assistance’ in these circumstances requires a strict means test to be applied and even where the accused is eligible for legal aid the funding available it is extremely limited as to the amount of work a legal advisor can provide.
Legal aid in the magistrates’ court has also been heavily restricted in recent years. In order to qualify for legal aid it must be shown that the case not only merits legal aid in the ‘interests of justice’ but also that the accused qualifies for legal aid on the ‘financial eligibility’ means test.
To those who do not qualify for legal aid we are able to offer competitive private rates, and in many circumstances our services can be provided on an agreed fee basis meaning you can be confident of the cost of your representation right from the outset. Those who fund their case on a private basis and who are ultimately successful in avoiding conviction can make a claim to recover the legal costs they have incurred through a ‘defence costs order’. However, the amount that can be recovered has also been severely restricted and the amount that will actually be recovered is likely to be significantly less than the actual costs incurred.
Legal aid generally available to all accused persons appearing before the Crown Court. However, legal aid in the Crown Court is also means tested, and if the accused is deemed to have a disposable income above a certain level then they will be asked to make contributions towards their legal aid. If the accused is not convicted then these contributions will be refunded in full.
For those who are deemed to have a ‘disposable income’ of above £37,500 then Crown Court legal aid is not available and the accused will need to fund their defence on a private basis. The only way an accused person can recover their private legal costs in proceedings before the Crown Court is if they are successfully acquitted and can show that they have been denied legal aid in those proceedings. However, even where this is the case the amount that can be recovered through a ‘defence costs order’ is also restricted and the amount actually recovered is likely to be significantly less than the actual costs incurred.
Other court proceedings including appeal
Legal aid is available in certain circumstances depending on the nature of the proceedings and the accused person’s financial means. If you would like advice as to whether you might be eligible for legal aid, or for a quote as to our private rates then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our crime team.