Funding Your Case – Criminal Law (Legal Aid)
We hold a contract with the Legal Aid Agency which means that we can represent clients who are eligible for legal aid. However, due to restrictions on what we can claim in traveling time and costs, we no longer represent clients in magistrates’ courts that are more than 50 miles from our offices in Hemel Hempstead.
Legal Aid in the Magistrates’ Court
In the magistrates’ court, legal aid may be available if you are financially eligible (the “means test”) and if it is deemed to be in the interests of justice for you to be granted legal aid (the “merits test”).
Legal Aid – Means Test
If you are under 18 years of age you will automatically be financially eligible. Please see the table here for financial eligibility for adults.
Legal Aid – Merits Test
In addition to being financially eligible for legal aid, the case must be sufficiently serious or complex to warrant a grant of legal aid. The following are some examples of when a case might qualify for legal aid:
- You are under the age of 18.
- It is likely that you will receive a prison sentence
- It is likely that you will lose your livelihood.
- It is likely that you will suffer serious damage to your reputation
- A substantial question of law is involved
- You may not be able to understand the court proceedings or present your own case
- Witnesses need to be traced and statements are taken from them (this may be relevant if you need an expert witness in your case)
- It is in the interests of another person that you be represented (examples may include if the case is a domestic violence allegation)
This list is not exhaustive and you should always call us to discuss whether you are likely to be eligible for legal aid.
Legal Aid in the Crown Court
Everyone is entitled to legal aid in the crown court unless your disposable household income is greater than £37,500 per annum. If your income exceeds £12,475, you will probably have to pay a contribution towards your legal aid.
If your disposable household income is greater than £37,500 please contact us to discuss the matter in further detail.
Recovering Legal Aid Contributions
If you are found not guilty after trial or if your case is discontinued, you can reclaim any contributions you have made to legal aid.
If you have been charged with an offence, or if you are on police bail or under investigation for an offence, please call us on 01442 242999 or email us at email@example.com to see how our expert criminal defence team can help you.