FUNDING IN CRIMINAL CASES
FUNDING IN CRIMINAL CASES
To deal with a basic motoring offence such as disqualified driving, excess alcohol in your system, excess drug in your system, being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, careless driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, or document offences:
- Representation on a guilty plea, mitigation and exceptional hardship – £350 + VAT fixed fee;
- Representation at a trial, finding of fact hearing, or special reasons hearing – £600 + VAT fixed fee;
- The current VAT rate is 20%.
Please note that the above rates are for our representation only in local magistrates’ courts, and do not include costs such as expert report fees, professional witness fees, or any other third-party costs, which will be in addition to the above. As these costs often vary significantly, we will advise you of the likely cost of each type of report on speaking to you.
If your case is at a magistrates’ court outside the local area, then there will be an additional cost for the time spent travelling at the rate of £165+VAT per hour or part thereof, a cost for mileage at the rate of 45p per mile, and any parking fees incurred.
The price includes examination of the prosecution evidence, attendance upon you to take instructions at the office, advice on the evidence and plea, attendance upon witnesses to take witness statements, and representation at all court hearings.
Typically, a motoring case will have the following steps:
- In Merseyside magistrates’ courts the court operate a system known as the ‘single justice system’ for basic motoring matters such as failing to provide information to the police, driving while using a mobile telephone, driving without insurance, defective tyre offences, document offences, or careless driving. An initial plea and any mitigation is normally entered by post or online, and then the matter is placed before a single justice who deals with the case without a hearing.
- If the plea is guilty and does not involve disqualification, the single justice will usually pass sentence and you will be notified of the sentence by post.
- If the plea is guilty and may attract potential disqualification from driving, then the matter will be listed for a sentence hearing.
- If the plea is not guilty the matter will be listed for a case management hearing in court and a trial date will be fixed at that hearing. The matter will then proceed to trial on the trial date.
- For slightly more serious matters, such as driving under the influence of excess alcohol, or driving with a drug in your system, and some careless driving cases, you will receive a postal requisition requiring your attendance at court and providing a date and time to attend. On that date you will enter a plea.
- If you plead guilty then the case may be sentenced on that date, or on occasion may be adjourned to another sentence date.
- If you plead not guilty the court will conduct case management and fix a trial date. The matter will then proceed to trial on the trial date.
Should your case be privately funded and successfully defended then an application will be made to the court for your costs to be paid from central funds. However, even if a costs order is granted, costs can only be recovered at the current legal aid rates (which can be provided on request), and which will mean that there is an inevitable shortfall in what you will have paid, and what you will recover.
More serious motoring offences such as dangerous driving, theft of or from a motor vehicle, or taking a vehicle without consent, will be dealt with either by applying for a legal aid representation order, should you qualify for one, or on the basis of our full hourly rate of £165 per hour.
Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court legal aid is means tested in most cases. Most people on benefits and all persons under 18 years of age are eligible for legal aid.
An application for a Representation Order is made to the Legal Aid Agency. The application gives details of the allegation faced and its significance to you. The Legal Aid Agency considers the application on its merits and financial eligibility, and will grant it if the both tests are met. If the application for a Representation Order were refused, we would discuss with you how best to proceed.
Should you not qualify for legal aid under a legal representation order, then our professional fees are as follows:
Magistrates’ Court Cases
- £165 + VAT per hour;
- Please note that the above rate is for work done by ourselves only, and does not include costs such as expert report fees, professional witness fees, or any other third-party costs, which will be in addition to the above;
- The current VAT rate is 20%
Crown Court Cases
- On a first appearance guilty plea at the Crown Court – £1500 + VAT
- On all other cases work done at the rate of £165.00 per hour + VAT;
- The current VAT rate is 20%.
Please note that the above rates are for our representation only, and do not include costs such as barrister’s fees, expert report fees, professional witness fees, or any other third-party costs, which will be in addition to the above.
Should your case be privately funded and successfully defended then an application will be made to the court for your costs to be paid from central funds. However, even if a costs order is granted, costs can only be recovered at the current legal aid rates (which can be provided on request), and which will mean that there is an inevitable shortfall in what you will have paid, and what you will recover. In addition, a costs order will only be granted in the Crown Court, where an application has been made for legal aid funding under a legal representation order, and rejected by the Legal Aid Agency.
Criminal work will be undertaken or supervised by the following staff.
Paul Williams, who was admitted as a solicitor 15/10/93 and who has over over 25 years experience in criminal matters.
Mark Satchell, a legal clerk with over thirty years experience in criminal law, completes our crime team.
While our own staff will deal with the vast majority of hearings and police stations, occasionally, an agent solicitor or police station agent will be used. We will ensure that the agent has an apporpriate level of experience.
We will ensure that an appropriate barrister is instructed for a Crown Court case and will discuss this with you at the appropriate time.