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Criminal Law - John Hounslow

As a result of government changes from 14th July 2010 I ceased taking on Legal Aid funded crime cases. I am still available to do privately funded work.


Few problems in life can be as traumatic as finding yourself on the wrong side of the criminal law. Whoever you are and however it happened, you need support and expert assistance. 


The availability of Legal Aid to pay for representation at the Police Station and Court has been restricted as part of government cutbacks. Further restrictions are likely. As a result I have ceased to do publicly funded (Legal Aid) Criminal work. If you are seeking representation in a criminal investigation for your defence then please note the following information.


Representation at the Police Station -

Currently if you are to be interviewed under caution you are entitled to free advice regardless of your means. This may be limited to a phone call to a duty solicitor or, if serious enough , the duty solicitor can attend you at the station and sit in on the interview. You will be given the chance to have one of the Duty Solicitors or a solicitor of your choice who does Legal Aid.  If you wish to instruct a publicly funded defence solicitor you will need to contact one of the firms with a Criminal Legal Aid contract.


If you wish to instruct me see my charges below. *


Representation at a Department of Work and Pensions or Council benefit fraud investigations -

People who are on a low income and pass a financial eligibility test can arrange to have a Solicitor attend an interview under caution at no cost to them. To arrange this again you will need to contact one of the firms with a criminal legal aid contract.


 

* If you wish to instruct me to attend the Police Station or any other criminal investigation interview under caution on your behalf then you do so on the basis:


1. That you know you have chosen to forego the free service.

2. That you accept my minimum fee of £300 plus VAT at the current rate (20% from 1.1.11.) making a total of £352.50.

This fee is payable in advance and covers travel and one attendance at any Island Police Station for up to 2 hours. Thereafter my normal hourly rate of £200 will apply. For attendance at a mainland location we would need to agree fees in advance.

If you have notice of the intention of the Police to seek an interview with you then you will need to contact me urgently to make arrangements. If leaving a message or emailing please leave your contact details.

If you are already under arrest when you seek my services we will both need to be clear that you will meet my charges immediately upon your release and that you understand your right to use the free Duty Solicitor service but have chosen not to.


Court Proceedings


If you have been or expect to be charged then you will need to consider your options for representation at court. There is normally a Duty Solicitor at court who is allowed to assist for no cost to the client anyone who is charged with an offence which includes in the range of possible penalties the option of prison. (That does not mean prison has to be likely, merely that it is possible). This may be your best option if you intend to plead guilty or want some free advice as to your options. Eligibility to see the Duty Solicitor is not currently means tested.


If you are on a low income or a  benefit such as J.S.A, E.S.A or Income Support then you should consider contacting one of the firms with a Legal Aid Contract in crime who will help you make your application for public funding. . There is also a merits test and you may find Legal Aid refused for matters which are considered minor by the courts.


However, some offences which do not carry possible prison sentences can have serious consequences for the individual either due to possible loss of their driving licence or the harm a conviction of any sort would cause to that person's reputation.


If you are not eligible for Legal Aid or wish to instruct me on a private basis in any event then please send me your contact details, the court date and charge so that I can make arrangements to see you.


Other sources of funding your case may include legal cover in your motor or home insurance policy.


The cost of a criminal defence case is so variable that I will need details before I can give you an idea. If you are found not guilty it is probable that you will recover some or most of your costs from the state. However, this is subject to an after-the-event assessment which may disallow some costs.


Attending one hearing to mitigate on a guilty plea at an Island court will cost £300 plus VAT. Thereafter my normal hourly rate of £200 will apply. A mainland court attendance will require agreement as to costs in advance.



For further assistance or advice, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Hounslow or his assistant on (01983) 566241 or alternatively on the following email address:


John Hounslow    Solicitor                     john.hounslow@wphiow.co.uk