We will act for you under the Legal Aid Scheme whenever that is available.
Everyone is entitled to free Legal Aid when they are interviewed as a suspect at a police station or anywhere else by the police. Legal Aid is also available to everyone (other than limited companies and those individuals with a net disposable household income of more than £37,500 pa) whose case is sent to the Crown Court for trial, although you may have to pay something towards that depending on your financial circumstances.
For Magistrates’ Court proceedings you are entitled to Legal Aid if the charge you face justifies it and you qualify financially. That can include imprisonable or technically complicated motoring offences. We will give you free advice about the likely availability of Legal Aid.
If you do not qualify for Legal Aid we will act for you on a fixed fee basis for all the work we undertake in the Magistrates’ and/or Crown Court. Many household and motor insurance policies also include cover for legal costs. It is always worth checking the policy wording of your existing insurances to find out if this is an option in your case.
Our fees for dealing with all the necessary work in the Magistrates’ Court are:
- £37.50 to provide initial telephone advice on motoring prosecutions.
- £100 to consider the prosecution paperwork for our advice on the strength of the prosecution you face and the likely sentence if you are convicted (this fee will be credited if you then instruct us to go on to deal with the proceedings on a private fee basis).
- £300 for attending an interview under caution by an agency other than the police.
- £450 for advising you and putting forward mitigation on an initial guilty plea at one hearing.
- £750 for a guilty plea to an endorsable motoring offence where an exceptional hardship argument is to be raised to try and avoid, or reduce, a period of disqualification.
- £2250 for a matter where a not guilty plea is entered which is listed for trial, or for a special reasons hearing on a motoring offence to try to avoid a disqualification or endorsement, or an appeal to the Crown Court against conviction.
- £400 to deal with the Magistrates’ Court proceedings in a case that is sent for trial to the Crown Court.
- £1000 for any other case (including committals to the Crown Court for sentence and appeals against sentence to the Crown Court).
- Where a matter is listed for a trial, or any contested hearing, to take more than one day, or where the trial or hearing actually lasts more than one day, the £2250 fixed fee is increased by £750 for each of those days whichever is the longer. If a guilty plea case is not finalised at one hearing then the £450 fixed fee is increased by £200 by each additional hearing we attend.
VAT will be added to those fees which cover all the necessary work for the type of case concerned and are guaranteed to apply irrespective of the amount of work we actually do. Any expenses incurred, such as experts’ reports or travel costs from our office to court or to site visits (including applicable VAT) will be added to our bill. We will ask you to authorize and pay in advance for any expenses totalling over £100 before we incur them.
The sum of £500, or the fixed fee if less, is payable towards our fees before the first court hearing or within 7 days of our request for it, if later. The balance of the fixed fee due to us is payable in full 28 days before the listed trial date or within 7 days of the matter’s conclusion, if earlier.
If you are acquitted or the prosecution decides not to proceed further we will apply to the Court for a Defendants’ Costs Order. This is an order providing for a contribution towards this firm’s final bill to be made from Central Funds. That contribution will be based on Legal Aid rates only and so it is important to appreciate that this is unlikely to cover more than a quarter of our fees and you will still have to pay the rest. Limited companies are not entitled to a Defendants’ Cost Order and so would always have to pay our fee in full even if they are not convicted.