What’s Your Success Rate?

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Created on November 18, 2019

In order to answer that question, we need to consider how we measure success

You might suggest that it relates to the percentage of trials that we win.  In criminal law, that would mean the number of trials which result in an acquittal.  But would that only include complete acquittals or would it include cases where our client is acquitted of the most serious charges but convicted of a less serious charge?

If trial acquittal rate is the measure of success, then it would make sense for our solicitors to ensure that only winnable cases proceed to trial.  In any case where we have real concerns about the strength of our client’s defence, we should advise him or her to plead guilty in order to protect our win ratio.

Would that make us successful?

We think not. 

If our client tells us that they are not guilty of the offence they are charged with, we consider it our duty to follow instructions and to take the case to trial if that is his or her wish.  Our client is entitled to clear and honest advice about their chances of success.  That would include providing a considered opinion on the weak points in his or her case.  We cannot coach our clients or their witnesses but we can point out the potential pitfalls in their intended evidence.  We can provide advice regarding the defence witnesses to rely on and those who might do more harm than good.  We can instruct experts to provide opinions and we can collate the independent evidence that tends to support our client’s case.

But if our client decides not to follow our advice, should we cease to act for him or her?

We think not.  

We believe it remains our duty to provide each and every client with the strongest possible defence and to do what we can, within the constraints of the law of evidence, to provide them with the strongest chance of an acquittal.

When the prosecution case is overwhelming.  It is our view that we should advise our clients of the benefits of pleading guilty.  If there is an opportunity to negotiate a lesser charge, we believe our clients should be informed of that possibility.

We don’t tell our clients what to do.  We provide them with the options and we spell out the potential consequences.

Sometimes, an early guilty plea will be the difference between going to prison and not going to prison.  Should we simply ignore that in an effort to earn more money?  Should we tell the client that we’re going to win the case even when we don’t really believe that to be true?

We think not. 

If a measure of success is winning trials that we did not expect to win then, yes, that certainly happens.  Criminal defence isn’t a game but, if it were, we would play to win.  Every time.

We’re proud of the dedication and expertise of our team.  Results matter to our clients and they matter to us.  But let’s be clear for a moment, one man’s result is another woman’s failure.  Every client is different and every case is different.  We cannot do this job by numbers.

So, what’s our win ratio? 

We haven’t a clue.

What’s our measure of success?

Keeping our clients out of prison wherever possible, giving them the best advice in every situation and achieving the best result for them…whatever that may be.



If you’re in need of a Criminal Defence Lawyer

We won’t judge you.  We won’t decide what’s best for you.  We will explain your options and the likely consequences of each.  We will let you decide and then we will try to achieve the best result for you.  

Call us on 0207 8464 999 or email us at [email protected] 

Rod Hayler

Rod Hayler

Rod has specialised in criminal defence work since 1998. He is a trial advocate of 17 years’ experience and, as a Higher Courts Advocate, he represents clients in Crown Courts and in the Court of Appeal.

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