Funding Your Case
We understand that being involved in criminal proceedings can be a challenging experience and that paying for legal representation can be expensive. We believe it is important to operate an open and transparent fee policy and will discuss your funding options with you at the outset of your case.
Being involved in criminal proceedings can be a challenging experience. This is why we are Wheldon Law believe that funding for criminal cases should not add another burden to those who are already in a difficult situation. Our fees are highly competitive and we offer a range of funding options to ensure that you will receive the legal services you require, no matter your budget.
We understand that paying for legal representation can place a strain on finances and for those clients who are not eligible for legal aid or who prefer to pay for private representation, we can offer competitive fees and a range of funding options.
Private funding offers you a greater choice of more experienced counsel and expert witnesses. In the crown court it can also mean that you can often benefit from being given a fixed trial date rather than your case being placed into the warned list system.
At the start of your case, we offer a fixed-fee conference lasting up to one hour at a cost of £325 plus VAT*. During this conference we can discuss your case and offer you the guidance you need regarding critical issues such as your legal position, the options available, your prospects of success and the likely costs involved. Following the conference, we will provide you with a detailed letter of advice and provide an estimate of our fees moving forwards. Thereafter, we can represent you on either a fixed-fee or an hourly rate basis.
We often represent clients on a fixed-fee basis. The fee is calculated on the basis of the amount of work we believe will be required in a case. This option provides more peace of mind for clients who are concerned about escalating costs however, we do reserve the right to re-visit any fixed-fee arrangement if it transpires that the case becomes much more complex or involves significantly more work than was originally envisaged.
Our hourly rates are as follows:
• Senior solicitor – £275/hour plus VAT*
• Solicitor – £250/hour plus VAT*
• Senior paralegal – £200/hour plus VAT*
• Paralegal – £175/hour plus VAT*
If we are representing you on an hourly rate, we will provide you with an estimate of the overall costs of your case and ask you to provide us with funds on account of our fees. You will be invoiced as work progresses.
If you are found not guilty after trial or if your case is discontinued, it should e possible to reclaim some of the costs of your legal representation. Unfortunately, the costs that you can recover are capped to legal aid rates which are approximately ¼ of private client rates. To be able to reclaim any legal costs in crown court proceedings you must first have applied for and been refused 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 not reasonable local to 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”).
If you are under 18 years of age you will automatically be financially eligible for legal aid. Adults will be financially eligible if they are on a low income (approx. household income of under £12,475 per annum before tax) or are in receipt of state benefits.
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. You may be required to pay a contribution towards your legal aid unless you are on a low income or on state benefits.
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.
Our expert criminal defence team have decades of experience and are always here to help you. No matter your needs or circumstances, you can count on us to provide you with the legal assistance you require.
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.
*VAT is currently charged at the rate of 20%