Meet the Team

Gillian Hayler

Meet the Team - Gillian Hayler

This is the eighteenth in a series of posts designed to provide you with some information about the team at Old Bailey Solicitors, what they do and why they do it! 

Today its the turn of the paralegal who only deals with not guilty cases, Gillian Hayler 

 

What is your job title? 

Paralegal and Accredited Police Station Representative.

 

How long have you been with Old Bailey Solicitors? 

I have been working at Old Bailey Solicitors for nearly 17 years.

 

What did you do before joining Old Bailey Solicitors? 

After college I started working in the Legal Department at Mid Sussex District Council as a Secretarial Assistant dealing with Tree Preservation Orders and Debt Recovery.

I left the Council to go travelling and then completed a legal secretary’s course on my return.

What made you decide to work for a firm of criminal defence specialists?

I joined the firm in August 2000, working as a legal secretary for the family, employment and criminal departments. Over time, I started working predominantly for the criminal department which was of more interest to me.

Whilst working for the firm, I completed a Paralegal course and made the transition from secretary to fee earner. I really enjoyed the diverse nature of the role and decided that I wanted to take it one step further by becoming an Accredited Police Station Representative.  This required me to have a more in depth knowledge of criminal offences and the laws relating to police powers.  

Describe your typical day at work 

I usually start my day at the office where I catch up on emails and prepare crown court cases. This involves meeting with the clients, taking instructions, explaining court procedures and preparing their defence case, ready for trial. I also meet with defence witnesses and spend a lot of time instructing experts and liaising with the court and the CPS.

I attend prisons to meet with our clients that have been remanded into custody. I take their instructions and work through their case, explaining the law and court procedures. I also attend Police Stations to represent clients that have been arrested. I advise them in relation to the evidence against them and take their instructions. I then advise them whether they have a defence and if they should answer the police officer’s questions in interview.  This part of the job also involves ensuring that my client’s rights are being observed by the police.  

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I enjoy helping people when they find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system. This involves making sure their account is heard and answering any questions they may have. Whether our clients are guilty or not guilty, they like to know that they have someone on their side, looking out for their best interest.  I have come to learn that many cases are not quite as they first seem. 

What do you find most challenging? 

Making sure we have filled out forms with enough information and evidence to obtain funding for the case and funding for experts.

Trying to liaise with other agencies and receiving no response. The cuts and underfunding of these bodies causes frustrating delays.

If you could implement one single change to the criminal justice system, what would it be?

Until recently I would have said that the police should be using their arrest powers less and dealing with suspects by way of voluntary interview wherever possible.  Over the years, they have tended to arrest first and think about it afterwards.  Being arrested is a stressful and costly experience and it isn’t necessary in most cases.  However, recent changes to the pre-charge bail laws may be having the desired effect already.  

Gillian Hayler

Gillian Hayler

Gillian has specialised in criminal defence for the last 14 years and is an Accredited Police Station Representative.  She builds strong and successful criminal defence cases and works closely with Crown Court trial advocates.

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