In Summary, please note the following:
In England and Wales when a person is arrested they are always entitled to free legal advice at the Police Station.
Once a person is arrested and taken to the police station they are given their rights & entitlements and asked whether they want legal advice and if so, they can nominate a solicitor or firm of their choice or request the services of a duty solicitor.
Whatever the choice the advice and representation is free.
If, however, you or someone you know has been asked to attend the station by appointment or asked to attend an appointment for an interview whereby you are potentially under investigation from the authorities (i.e. DWP) then you may not automatically be entitled to free representation. If this is the case then you may need to contact us and discuss whether you are entitled to free standing advice and assistance – or if you will not qualify under that head, we can agree a fixed fee for our advice & attendance.
As and when this situation arises, please contact us and ask to speak with one of our solicitors who will happily advise you further after taking some information from you over the phone or arrange a free no-obligation consultation with one of our team.
Legal Aid at Court
If you or someone you know is charged with an offence that will be dealt with at a magistrates Court, legal aid may pay for all of the costs of legal representation in court. It’s not available for all cases as it’s targeted at those who need it most.
Two tests will be applied and both must both be passed to get free legal aid:
• the Interests of Justice test
• the means test (consideration of financial position, household income, capital, and household outgoings).
When someone applies for legal aid at court, if the case passes the Interests of Justice test they automatically qualify for free legal aid if they:
• are under 18
• receive specific state benefits
If you fail the means test and your case is in the Magistrates’ Court, you will not be given legal aid and will be expected to pay for your own costs.
If your case goes to the Crown Court the means test will determine the amount they will need to contribute towards their defence costs; If you are then found not guilty or the case is dropped, any payments made will be refunded with interest. However, you still have the right to choose to decline legal aid and pay for your costs privately.
If you are paying for all your defence costs and are subsequently found not guilty or the case is dismissed you can apply to reclaim some or all of their defence costs from central funds.
Call us and speak with one of our Directors in order to discuss our fees for private work and we can agree a competitive rate for you based on your circumstances and the circumstances of your case.