What can I expect if I pay privately for my defence?

What can I expect if I pay privately for my defence?

Why pay privately?

At Old Bailey Solicitors we pride ourselves on our approach to client care and the highest standards of advocacy. That means that whether you are a private client, or legally aided, you can be assured of the same high standards of legal advice. So why pay privately, and what can you expect to gain as a private client from our services?

Legal aid eligibility 

In the Magistrates’ Courts, Legal aid is provided to to anyone who is claiming benefits, or who has a combined household income of less than £12,000 approx. per year. In the Crown Court, legal aid is means tested, meaning that your income, savings and possessions will be assessed and a contribution figure arrived at. If you are acquitted, you may be eligible to have your contributions refunded.

If your case is particularly complicated, we may need to instruct experts to provide reports, or trace and interview witnesses. There are limits to what the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will pay for, and any expenditure must be applied for and agreed in advance. In the case of experts, they will only be remunerated at legal aid rates, and whilst we ensure we instruct only the very best experts in their field, not all will accept instructions at those rates. This can cause delay whilst we appeal to the LAA and that appeal may not ultimately be successful.

Privately paying clients can of course select whichever expert they choose, providing a much wider pool to choose from, including those internationally based.

Client contact 

In terms of client care, you will have a point of contact dedicated to your case and available to you at all reasonable times, including evenings and weekends. We understand that people are busy and that it can be difficult to fit meetings in to an already full schedule. We can also travel to your home or office if that is more convenient.

Choice of advocate 

Whilst we always choose the best advocate for the case, legal aid will not pay for Queen’s Counsel except in the most serious of cases. Again, as a privately paying client you will have a wider choice of advocate to instruct. We have a very close working relationship with some of the best QCs the UK has to offer, and we will be happy to help you to choose the best person for your case.

There are other reasons why you might want to choose to instruct us privately, when you will be assured of an experienced team, dedicated to your case and passionate about achieving the best possible outcome for you. If you would like to hear more please do contact us for a confidential discussion.

Camilla Rents

Camilla Rents

Camilla has specialised in criminal defence work since 2010 and has particular experience in cases involving sexual offences, serious violent offences (including murder) and money laundering and fraud.

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