We know that being involved in a criminal case to any extent, be it as a victim, witness or alleged perpetrator, is very stressful. A major worry for people involved in these cases is who is going to pay for their legal costs. At Stephen Lickrish & Associates we are experienced at helping our clients obtain Legal Aid (i.e. your legal costs paid by the Legal Services Commission), ensuring that they either receive free representation or pay the minimum amount possible.
Legal Aid is different depending on where your case is in the justice process and how you are involved in a case.
Alternatively, details of our private fees can be found here.
You will not need to pay for legal representation if…
- You need to be represented at the police station
- You or your partner receive income support,
- You or your partner receive income related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- You or your partner receive income based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
- You or your partner receive guarantee state pension credit
- Your assets are restrained by the Court
Case at the Police Station
Everyone is entitled to free representation at the police station, regardless of the allegation or how much money you earn. If your case requires extra work outside of the police station before charge, for example seeing witnesses or collating information then this may be covered depending on how much you earn. Alternatively we can come to an arrangement for a fixed fee or complete this work for free depending on the circumstances of your case.
Case at the Magistrates Court
In the magistrates court you are entitled to free representation if your case is serious enough to require a lawyer and if you do not have enough money to pay for your own solicitor by (assessing your income and assets) or your assets are restrained.
Your case is serious to require a lawyer if…
- You are required or asked to attend a police station
- You need to organise some defence witnesses
- You dispute what the prosecution witnesses are saying about you and think they may be lying
- You may be sent to prison if you are convicted
- You will lose your livelihood if you are convicted (i.e. disqualified from driving)
- Your case is or will go to the Crown Court
- A substantial question of law may be involved
- You cannot understand the Court case or may not be able to present your own case.
Assessment of Income and Assets
The court will assess your income and assets to determine whether you can afford to pay for your own legal costs. This is a complex test which takes accounts of you and your partner’s (if you have one) assets, income and expenditure. You will need to provide evidence of your income and any assets. We will explain this test to you in more detail if and when the need arises.
If your case is serious enough to require a solicitor the Court will then conduct a detailed analysis of your assets and income to determine whether you should contribute to the legal costs. In the event that the court believes you have the funds to pay for your own representation then we are able to offer competitive rates and fixed fees.
We will prepare the application forms on your behalf and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome with regards to the funding for your legal costs. Our experienced solicitors have years of experience of obtaining legal aid for our clients.
Case at Crown Court
In the Crown Court you are entitled to free representation if you do not have enough money to contribute to the costs of your legal team.
All cases in the Crown Court are considered serious enough to require legal advice and representation. However the Court will conduct a detailed analysis of your assets and income to determine whether you should contribute to these costs or not. You will need to provide evidence of you and your partners (if you have one) income, assets and expenditure and supply this to the Court in order for them to make this determination.
Alternatively if you have the means and wish to instruct us on a purely private basis then you will find our rates and service compare favourably with our competitors.
If you need any further information or assistance, please contact us.