Funding & Fees

Legal aid in criminal cases is administered by the Legal Aid Agency(“LAA”). The rules and regulations are complex and change constantly. In certain circumstances legal aid in criminal matters is non-means tested but generally the grant of legal aid is subject to both a test of the merits of the case and the means of the individual.

This firm has a contract with the LAA to undertake legal aid work on appeal cases only.

Cases in the police station, Magistrates Court or the Crown Court with the exception of appeals against conviction to the Crown Court, we  undertake such work on a privately funded basis only. However, if you wish to apply for legal aid on such a case, you should contact us and we can see whether we can refer you to an established firm to take your case on under legal aid.

Appeal cases (including CCRC applications) not before the Court of Appeal

If you are seeking advice from us in relation to an appeal where another firm represented you at trial or in relation to an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, legal aid may be available to you. The advice and assistance scheme is strictly means tested and will not allow public funds to be spent on your case if you have more than a specified amount of capital or income. Most people in prison serving long sentences will qualify for such advice subject to the value of their assets and whether or not their partner is working. The scheme will not allow clients merely to obtain a second or third opinion because the first solicitor did not give advice that they agreed with.

We can assess whether or not you might qualify for such a scheme and whether we are able to take your case on. Legal aid in such cases is also subject to a merit test known as the Sufficient Benefit test. If you do not qualify for this scheme, you would have to pay privately for any legal advice about your case.


Court of Appeal cases

If you have a case in the Court of Appeal where leave has been granted for the appeal to go ahead, you will generally have legal aid for an advocate. In some cases, your legal aid may also allow a solicitor to prepare your case. However, you are not able to mix and match private and public funds by paying for a solicitor but having the advocate under legal aid.


Private work

If you do not qualify for legal aid you will have to pay privately for your representation and should contact us for an estimate of the likely costs.

In the event that you are successful in your case (i.e. the case does not result in a conviction), you will no longer automatically be able to apply for your costs to be reimbursed from Central Funds if your case was heard in the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal. If legal aid in the Crown Court was refused on means, you will receive a reimbursement of costs at legal aid rates.

You may make an application to have costs paid from Central Funds in the Magistrates’ Court but your claim for reimbursement will be limited to the amount that the case would have cost had it been legally aided. Legal aid rates are so poor nowadays that as an average you will receive reimbursement of only about 25% of the fees actually incurred in defending the case.

a fierce criminal defence solicitor, who specialises in defending and representing victims of human trafficking

The Law SocietyRegarding MD, Philippa Southwell


Get in touch

Fulham Park House, 1a Chesilton Road, London, SW6 5AA

020 3940 4741