For anyone accused of a crime or motoring offence, advice and professional support from a qualified lawyer is essential. However, if you are not eligible for legal aid, the prospect of private fees can be daunting. One solution to this is to instruct a lawyer on a fixed fee basis.
Cases in either the Magistrates Court or Crown Court can often take much longer to conclude than originally expected. It is common for Courts to list more trials than they have available court rooms, meaning that cases get adjourned. As well as being frustrating for everyone involved, it can mean that you have been charged for a lawyer attending a hearing that wasn’t effective.
Why Discussing Fixed Costs May Be The Right Option For You
An alternative to simply paying your lawyer on an hourly rate is to agree a fixed fee to cover the costs of a case. The advantage of this is that there are no nasty surprises if a case is adjourned or runs on for longer than originally estimated.
How Are The Fees Calculated
Cases will vary in complexity, and some court centres may involve additional travel for your representative. However a typical case would involve:
- An initial conference (usually by telephone) before the first hearing to give provisional advice,
- Attendance at the first hearing,
- A conference to discuss the evidence in the case after the prosecution had disclosed it,
- Attendance at the trial, or at a sentencing hearing in the case of a guilty plea
- Written advice confirming any issues at the conclusion of the case.
Will My Legal Costs Be Refunded If I am Not Guilty
If you are successful in defending the case against you, you may be able to recover the costs of your defence. However, these costs are limited to the rates that nominally apply to legal aid work. Therefore you could still be out of pocket even if you are cleared of all allegations. This is something that you should discuss with your lawyer before agreeing to a fixed fee agreement.