If you are accused of a crime or a motoring offence, and are not eligible for legal aid, you will have to consider whether paying private fees for legal representation is the appropriate way for you to defend yourself against the allegation you are facing.
Some defendants may not be eligible for public funding because they have savings or a household income that exceeds the means test threshold. However, in some cases, especially motoring matters, legal aid is not available as the charge you are facing does not carry the risk of a prison sentence. In this situation, why would you pay private fees?
- Just because there is not a strong risk of going to prison, it doesn’t mean that there are no consequences of a conviction. People have lost their job as a result of being banned from driving or simply from being convicted of an offence.
- The Courts try to be user friendly for people who are unrepresented. However, there are many matters that can arise that can be avoided or remedied in a much better way if you have the advice and guidance of a trained professional.
- While paying for a lawyer can’t guarantee an outcome, it can only help if you have an experienced specialist advocate addressing the Court on your behalf
If you are paying privately for representation, you will be told in advance how much work will be required to prepare your case, as well as the hourly rate that will be charged so that you know how much you may be required to pay. Alternatively, a fixed fee can be agreed in advance. See our dedicated fixed fee page for more information.
It is also worth knowing that if you pay private fees for your legal representation, and you are found Not Guilty, you are able to make a claim for the fees you have paid. However, the amount of private fees “refunded” is capped in line with what would have been charged using the Legal Aid rates.
For more information on private fees for criminal defence, to discuss instructing a direct access barrister, or for help finding out whether you may be eligible for legal aid, contact us. We will give you easy to understand information so that you can make a fully informed decision about how to proceed with your case.