Will I get Legal Aid at the Police Station?
Yes, and it's not means tested. Interviews under caution, but not by the Police are not usually covered, and generally you'll have to pay.
What about Legal Aid in the Magistrates' and Crown Courts?
For Magistrates' Court cases you will get Legal Aid for representation provided that you pass a means test and a merits test, both set by the Court. Legal Aid is available for most Crown Court cases but you may have to pay a contribution.
Can I get free representation for a traffic offence?
All traffic offences are within the Criminal Jurisdiction, so if your case passes the merits test and you pass the means test, it may be covered. Remember, though, that the merits test may well rule out Legal Aid if, for example, you are accused of speeding or using your mobile phone while driving.
How does private funding work?
We estimate the likely costs of the case with you. Our Client Care Information and Terms of Business document clearly sets out our rates. Like every other firm of solicitors, we will require payment of our costs prior to the completion of the case, either in full or by way of staged payments. (As they say in Norfolk, “Without seed, the canary won’t sing!”)
OK, so I’m earning too much or my case does not pass the means test –what’s meant by ‘private representation’?
It simply means that you pay us, we represent you – it’s as straightforward as that. If you are pleading NOT GUILTY and you win, the Court generally, but not always, pays some of your legal expenses (about 25%). It’s also worth checking insurance policies (home and motoring) as they will often pay us to represent you.
How do you set your rates?
We mirror the reasonable charges set by the Court. If you win, you generally get back some of your money when the Court makes a Defendant’s Costs Order. You are still responsible, however, for the shortfall between what is claimed and what is paid out by the Court (about 75%).
You say you are available 24/7. Does that mean I get a call centre or answer machine when I ring out of hours?
No that’s the last thing you need when you are in trouble. In so far as is humanly possible one of the directors, either Simon Nicholls or Dave Foulkes, will personally take your call, unless you specifically wish to speak to another member of staff. During normal office hours (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday) our experienced and dedicated staff will receive and process your call.
You’re based in Norwich, but do you take on cases outside of Norfolk?
Certainly. In fact many of our clients come to us on personal recommendation, and we will go anywhere people need us.
Are you any good?
Some businesses and professions employ slick PR people and media consultants to make them look and sound good. We prefer to let our results and our client satisfaction speak for themselves. For an impartial opinion, however, you can rely on what legal publications like the Legal 500 and the Chambers Law Directory say about us.