It is traumatic to face criminal prosecution and it is important that the funding of your case does not add unnecessary additional pressures. Legal aid is available for many cases and we have a contract with the legal aid agency that allows us to provide a full range of legal aid services.
Unfortunately, legal aid has been subject to a range of cuts over the last 20 years and there are some cases where legal aid provision is either very limited or non-existent. The process of applying for legal aid is rigorous and you will be asked to provide evidence of your income and savings. Our recent peer review grading demonstrates that we provide some of the best legal aid representation in the country.
Police Station Cases
Everyone is entitled to free legal advice and representation at the police station.
Magistrate Court Cases
Legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court is means tested and subject to what is known as the ‘Interests of Justice Test’. The interests of Justice test looks at how serious the matter is and whether there is a risk that someone will lose their liberty or suffer long term damage to their livelihood or reputation.
The means test does not apply if a person is under 18 or on certain benefits.
In all other circumstances a person’s finances will be assessed to decide whether they are eligible for Legal Aid. Their annual household income and family circumstances will be taken into account and then:
If their annual household income is £12,475 or less they’ll get free Legal Aid
If it is £22,325 or more they are not eligible for Legal Aid.
If a person’s annual household income is more than £12,475 but less than £22,325 then the Legal Aid Agency will look at their disposable income. This is the money they’re left with after they’ve paid their main bills. If they’re left with:
£3,398 or less a year (£283.17 or less a month) they get free Legal Aid
More than £3,398 a year (£283.17 a month) they are not eligible to receive Legal Aid
Crown Court Cases
Legal aid is available in the Crown Court and is also subject to means testing.
A person will not have to pay towards the costs of their defence case if they are under 18 or if they receive certain benefits.
If a person’s annual household disposable income is below £37,500 then they will be eligible for Legal Aid, although they may have to pay a contribution towards the costs of their defence if their annual disposable income is above £3,398
The regulations and criteria surrounding legal aid can often be confusing and complex. Our highly skilled team will guide you through each step of the process.
Appeals and Other proceedings
The legal aid provisions for the more unusual cases are complex and advice can be given on an individual case by case basis
Given the constraints on legal aid, we have developed a significant private practice representing individuals and professionals in various fields. Legal aid doesn’t always cover the sheer amount of work that we believe is necessary to do a case properly.
Funding your case privately means that you will be guaranteed a quality, individually tailored service from start to finish. You will be represented by the same senior lawyer throughout the case.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible under the legal aid scheme.
Our team of expert criminal defence solicitors are on hand to assist wherever you are and can defend you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are accused of an offence, have been arrested, charged or are on bail, please contact us as soon as possible.