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CRIMINAL LEGAL AID
If you or some one you care for has been arrested and are currently in police custody please call us now on 0151 408 4061 for urgent free help.
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for a criminal offence or alleged to be in breach of some court orders we can offer criminal legal aid in some circumstances.
Interviews with the Police
If you or a person you care for has been arrested by the police or has been called in for a voluntary interview with the police under caution you are entitled to free, non means tested legal advice and assistance, provided that you have not received free legal advice and assistance from a solicitor about the same matter before. Please note this scheme only covers work done as part of the police investigation in the police station.
If you are being interviewed by another prosecuting authority you may be entitled to limited advice and assistance depending on your means. In general terms this means you must be in receipt of a qualifying state benefit. We can provide advice about whether you are eligible for free help through the legal aid option but you must tell us about your income or benefit receipts and provide us with proof of those details before we can accept instructions from you.
Qualifying State Benefits
The following benefits are currently “qualifying benefits”: Income support, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance and Guarantee State Pension Credit.
Charged with an Offence
If you have been charged with an offence you may be eligible for legal aid if the Legal Aid Agency is satisfied that you are financially eligible for legal aid and it is in the interests of justice for legal aid to be granted in your case.
You will be considered financially eligible for legal aid if you or your partner receive a qualifying state benefit such as income support. You and your partner will be required to provide us with all details of the claim and you will both be required to sign an application form.
If you and/or your partner are not in receipt of a qualifying state benefit you will be eligible for legal aid if you and your partner have a combined income before tax and national insurance of less than £239.90 per week (£12,475.00 per year) if your case will be dealt with in the magistrates’ court.
If your case will be heard in the Crown Court you will be eligible for legal aid provided that you and your partner do not have a disposable income of more than £37,500. A complex means test will be carried out and if your adjusted income, which makes allowance for any children you may have, is between £12,475 and £22,325 you may have to pay a contribution towards your legal aid.
In either case you and your partner will be required to provide us with wage slips and bank statements for the last three months together with evidence of any rent, mortgage and council tax payments and you will both be required to sign an application form and complete a statement of means.
You can check your eligibility for criminal legal aid here.
Interest of Justice
There are a range of factors that the Legal Aid Agency must consider when deciding whether it is in the interests of justice for you to receive legal aid.
In general terms legal aid will be granted where:
- There is a risk that you will be sent to prison or remanded in custody ending your trial;
- You intend to plead not guilty and:
- Have never been in trouble before so that you would lose your good name if convicted;
- You will lose your employment or livelihood if convicted;
- Your case will involve consideration of complex questions of law;
- There is some other reason why you cannot present your own case;
- The case will require expert cross examination of a prosecution witness;
- It is inappropriate for you to directly cross examine a witness in the case, or;
- There is some other compelling reason why you should receive legal aid.
We can help you decide whether you are eligible for legal aid. Please call us on 0151 480 4061 or by using the link and sending us details of your case and benefit details.
Please note that we will only accept instructions to act under legal aid where you provide all the necessary information and where legal aid is granted by the Legal Aid Agency.