Do I need a solicitor for a “voluntary” interview with the police?

Created on June 03, 2017

Do I need a solicitor for a "voluntary" interview with the police?

I’ve been asked to go to the police station for a chat – should I take a solicitor with me?

Recent changes to police bail have resulted in more ‘voluntary’ interviews being conducted, as opposed to suspects being arrested. This means that you may be contacted by the police and invited to attend the police station for a ‘voluntary’ interview. You may even be interviewed at your home or in hospital. You can read Kim Evans’ article on the necessity for having legal advice before and during voluntary interviews here

In our opinion it is absolutely vital that you obtain legal advice if you are to be interviewed. We are often contacted by people who have been charged or issued with Adult Cautions who did not have a solicitor present in interview.  For some of those people it is highly likely that no further action would have been taken had they been legally represented.

You are also entitled to stop any interview in order to seek legal advice, so it is not too late even if your interview has already begun.

Do I have to pay for a solicitor if my interview is voluntary or at a place other than a police station, such as at home?

There is some confusion as to whether a person is still eligible for free legal advice if an interview takes place anywhere other than a police station, or if the interview is voluntary. The answer is a resounding yes. We have heard many times from clients that police officers have told them they are not entitled to have free legal advice if they are not under arrest. This is simply not true. If you have been invited to attend the police station for a voluntary interview you are entitled to free legal advice either on the telephone or in person, in the same way as if you are under arrest.

Don’t take chances – legal advice in the police station is free, and vital. You have nothing to lose, and potentially, everything to gain.


Grant Long

Grant Long

Grant is lead advocate at our Surrey office. He has extensive experience in criminal matters, representing clients accused of serious crime from sexual and violent offending to complex fraud, and offences concerning drugs and drink driving.

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