Representing yourself in the Magistrates Court? We can help
Have you been refused legal aid?
Are you facing the prospect of having to appear in court without a lawyer?
Do you want some advice on how to conduct yourself in court?
Do you want guidance on how to present your case?
Legal aid is available in the Magistrates Court in both merits tested and means tested. This means that if you earn over £12,500 and/or your case is not considered sufficiently serious to justify the Government paying for a lawyer on your behalf, you will be refused legal aid.
There are a variety of reasons why you may have to represent yourself in the Magistrates Court, the most common being that you have either been refused legal aid on the merits of the case (as it was not deemed serious enough by the Legal Aid Agency) and you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer to represent you, or if you have been told that you earn over the threshold to even apply for legal aid but still cannot afford a lawyer.
Representing yourself in court in a criminal trial can be a very stressful and unpleasant experience, especially as you are unlikely to be familiar with the laws of evidence or procedure, nor are you likely to be aware of the many formalities associated with the court process. You will most likely be unfamiliar with how to obtain evidence, how to make requests for further evidence, how to deal with the police and the prosecution, how to address the court, cross examine witnesses, and gather evidence in to admissible form.
If you find yourself in this position, but cannot afford the cost of a lawyer to represent you in court, we may still be able to help you .
We recognize that instructing a lawyer to defend you can be expensive. It is through no fault of yours that the Government a few years ago took away the privilege of being able to obtain legal aid for a criminal case regardless of your means. The number of unrepresented defendants at court is at an all time high and the figures are staggering, and ever increasing.
We offer an arrangement which is designed to assist you in preparing and presenting your case to a Magistrates Court yourself. We will go through your case with you and guide you through the process of appearing in court and how to prepare, present and conduct your case. If you attend court prepared and you know what is likely to happen evidentially and procedurally, then the case you put forward will be presented with better clarity and greater confidence. In a case which involves a criminal trial we will help you with disclosure requests, how to identify key areas to explore in cross examination, how to gather your own evidence and make sure it is in admissible form in order to avoid the prosecution challenging it. We can advise on all aspects of evidence and procedure, and in cases which are in the early stages or not yet even at court, we can advise on the strength of the prosecution case and the prospects of a successful defence.
In order to ensure that you are as prepared as possible and to ensure that the experience of representing yourself is less daunting, at a cost considerably less than having to instruct a lawyer, we offer you the following two options, :
- A 2 hour consultation with a lawyer at either office in West Drayton or St Albans for any court case in the Magistrates Court. Fee £250.00 plus VAT
We will review any evidence or material you wish to send us in advance of any conference and advise you on every aspect of your case either to help with representing yourself on a matter that you are likely to admit, or on a matter that you will want to defend and take to trial.
- Telephone conference up to 1 hour – Fee £125.00 plus VAT
We will review any evidence or material you wish to send us in advance of any telephone conference and advise you on every aspect of your case either to help with representing yourself on a matter that you are likely to admit, or on a matter that you will want to defend in full.
At the end of the meeting/discussion, you will be more confident in understanding the case against you, what to expect at court, and how to prepare and present your case.
If you have any questions, please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.