Funding & Costs Information
Advice and assistance at a Police interview (whether you are under arrest or attending as a volunteer) is paid for under the Legal Aid Scheme, irrespective of your income. An interview under caution forms one part of a Police investigation. The whole investigation process may take many months to conclude.
Advice and assistance provided to you other than at a Police station (prior to charge) may be funded under the Advice and Assistance Scheme. We may ask you to complete forms CRM1 and 2 to determine eligibility. The threshold for this funding is low. If you are in employment you are unlikely to qualify. If you are not eligible for advice and assistance under this scheme, we will discuss with you how this work is to be funded and forward to you a copy of our Terms of Business and Costs Information for private clients.
Investigations by non-Police agencies e.g. HSE, DWP, RSPCA etc. are not funded under the Police station scheme. You may however be eligible for advice and assistance and we will assess whether or not you qualify. You will be asked to complete forms CRM1 and 2 to determine eligibility. The threshold for this funding is low. If you are in employment you are unlikely to qualify. If you are not eligible for advice and assistance under this scheme, we will discuss with you how your case may be funded and forward to you a copy of our Terms of Business and Costs Information for private clients. We may be able to offer a fixed fee service.
Legal Aid at Court
For representation in court, unless you have expressly agreed to pay us privately, we will make an application for Legal Aid on your behalf. This is done by an online application to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). Detailed information can be found on their website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/legal-aid-agency
Legal Aid for court cases is means tested in most cases. Most people on state benefits and all persons under 18 years of age are financially eligible for Legal Aid. The information below is an overview. If you wish us to explain it in more detail, we will be happy to do so. Legal Aid is also subject to an “interests of justice test.” The case has to be “serious enough” to qualify. Examples of this are; where the case is complex, you are vulnerable, or there is a risk you may go to prison.
If you are granted Legal Aid for representation in the Magistrates’ Court, you will not have to pay any defence costs for the case. The LAA will notify you in writing of the outcome of your application. If your application is refused on the interests of justice test, or you feel that there has been an error with the means test calculation, we will advise you how to appeal against that decision.
If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, we will discuss with you how this work is to be funded and forward to you a copy of our Terms of Business and Costs Information for private clients. We may be able to offer a fixed fee service.
The following applies where a case is committed to the crown court for trial. There are different rules if your case is committed to the Crown Court for sentence which we will explain below.
Most people on state benefits will pay nothing towards the costs of their defence, however if you plead guilty or are found guilty you may have also to pay a contribution towards prosecution costs.
If you have a household disposable income in excess of £37,000 (which takes into account the earnings of any partner/spouse), you will not qualify for Legal Aid. The LAA do not take all your outgoings into account when determining what amounts to “disposable” income. Broadly speaking they take into account rent/mortgage payments, childcare costs paid to a registered care provider, child maintenance paid to any ex-partners and any contributions to civil or criminal legal aid. The calculations are complex and an application must be supported by documentary proof of means in a format acceptable to the LAA.
We can assist you to make an application, and in some cases where Legal Aid is refused, we can assist you to appeal or make a hardship application. If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, we will discuss with you how this work is to be funded and forward to you a copy of our Terms of Business and Costs Information for private clients. We may be able to offer a fixed fee service.
If you are eligible for Legal Aid in the Crown Court, then you may be liable to pay income contributions for the first six months of your case. You will be written to by the LAA advising you if this is the case. You may also receive a separate letter from a company who are responsible for collection of the contributions.
If you find the contributions ordered unacceptable then you must notify us immediately so that we can reject the offer of legal aid. This MUST be done within 21 days, otherwise you may be deemed to have accepted the offer and the LAA will seek to recover the payments from you.
If you are required to pay contributions towards Crown Court Legal Aid and fail to do so, interest charges will be added and the LAA may take legal action to enforce the monies owed. Enforcement action can include the clamping, seizure and/or sale of your vehicle (and please note there is no Legal Aid available to assist you in challenging this enforcement). Other enforcement options include a Charging Order secured against property; High Court enforcement such as a Distress Warrant enabling bailiffs to come and seize goods from your home; and an Attachment of Earnings Order.
If you have paid an income contribution but are acquitted of all charges, monies you have paid (with interest at 2%) will be repaid to you by the LAA.
If you have paid an income contribution which is calculated as being more than the actual case costs, the difference will be repaid to you by the LAA.
If you have paid an income contribution which is calculated as being less than the actual case costs, the difference will be recovered from you by way of a capital contribution (if applicable).
If you are not convicted of all offences (whether as a result of an acquittal or otherwise) an application can be made by you for ‘judicial apportionment’. Your claim must be made within 21 days of the end of your case and there is no power to extend that time limit. Please do not hesitate to seek further advice from your defence representative in court at the conclusion of your case if you believe this should apply.
If you are found guilty or plead guilty (once your case has proceeded to the Crown Court) you may have to pay towards your defence costs from any capital assets you have. This is known as a capital contribution. This would only apply a) if you have £30,000 or more assets, for example savings, equity in property, shares or other savings or investments and b) any income contributions already paid have not covered your total defence costs.
You will be told by the LAA at the end of your case if you are required to make a capital contribution.
Committal for Sentence
When someone pleads guilty at the Magistrates’ Court and the case is committed to the Crown Court for sentence, eligibility for Legal Aid is determined by the Magistrates Court test NOT the Crown Court test. Please note that the financial threshold is therefore lower.
Court of Appeal
We will apply for Legal Aid on your behalf if you wish to appeal or resist an appeal by the Attorney General. Most cases at the Court of Appeal will qualify for Legal Aid but we will discuss this with you further if your case is progressing in this direction.
Get in Touch
If you have any questions about Legal Aid or funding a case – then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 477 1121 or message us directly.