Criminal Defence Law and Prison Law

Criminal Court Processes

Howards Solicitors is one of the country’s leading criminal law defence solicitor practices. Our criminal defence department is made up of experienced criminal defence solicitors.

Our Directors have appeared on national and local radio to discuss their cases. With offices across Greater Manchester & Cheshire we are perfectly placed to provide assistance to clients throughout Greater Manchester, Cheshire & beyond.

Year on year the government body, the Legal Aid Agency, has renewed our contract to undertake criminal defence work on a government funded basis. The number of such contracts have been in considerable decline over the past decade as the government has attempted to filter out poorly performing firms.

In fact, in 2010, the Legal Services Commission awarded this firm 3 further contracts to undertake publicly-funded work in towns across the North West.

Howards Solicitors is also a VHCC panel member, one of only approximately 100 firms in the country, authorised to undertake publicly-funded criminal work of the most serious nature.

We provide a national service which includes representation at the police station, 24 hours a day, right through to representation in the Supreme Court and, if necessary, the European Courts.

For more information and advice in relation to how we can help you please get in contact with us immediately and see the our page on Criminal law processes where you will find more advice on procedures, processes and terminologies you may encounter as your case proceeds through the courts. (insert hyperlink here to criminal law processes page)

Your enquiry will be treated with absolute confidence and should we take on your case you will be represented by an appropriately-qualified lawyer with the necessary knowledge and experience.

Criminal defence law is one of the few areas where legal aid is still available. If you are entitled to legal aid we will advise you accordingly and assist you in making the appropriate application. Where legal aid may not be available to you we will advise you of our fees for representing you. See below.

Prison Law

Howards Solicitors have twenty years of experience in dealing with all aspects of prison law. We have a nationwide presence and can represent prisoners throughout England and Wales.

We are one of the few remaining law firms to have been awarded a Legal Aid Contract allows us to act in Prison Law matters and in particular the following matters:

  1. Parole Applications
  2. Recall
  3. Pre-Tariff Reviews
  4. Removal from open conditions (Indeterminate Sentences)
  5. Category A Reviews
  6. Independent Adjudications (before an Outside Judge)
  7. Sentence Calculation

We can also deal with other areas of Prison Law not covered by the contract on a private paying basis including through fixed fees.

Fixed fee Price Scale:

Our Fees

1st appearance for Plea:

Fixed Fee:       £450 + vat (£90.00) = £540.00

What is included?

  • Attendance and/or preparation;
  • Considering evidence;
  • Taking your instructions;
  • Providing advice on plea on likely sentence;
  • Attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court.

 What is not included?

  • Instruction of any expert witnesses;
  • Taking statements from any witnesses;
  • Advice and assistance in relation to a Special Reasons[i] hearing;
  • Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.
  • More than one court hearing. if we are required to attend a further hearing with you then these will be charged at £350.00 plus vat (£70) = £420.00. This will include any further preparatory work required to be undertaken between and for the hearings.

Key stages involved

The key stages of your matter are based on the presumption that you have entered a guilty plea and have a date for your hearing. They typically include:

  • Meet with your you to provide instructions on what happened;
  • Consider initial disclosure, and any other evidence and provide advice;
  • Arranging to take any witness statements, if necessary (this will have an additional cost, of £100.00 plus vat (£20.00) = £120.00) per statement;
  • Explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the Court;
  • Conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you, if necessary, and answer any follow up queries you have;
  • Attend court on the day, meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court for a half day;
  • Discuss the outcome with you. If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost.

Please note we cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day.

Summary only

Trial (Magistrates Court Trial)

Fixed fee: £1750.00 plus vat (£350.00) = £2100.00.

What is included?

All of the above plus:

  • Additional meetings with you;
  • All preparatory work to take the case through to a contested trial;
  • In addition to the first hearing where your plea is entered we will also include a one day trial;
  • Liaising with any experts or third parties on your behalf;
  • Interviewing of witnesses and preparing of statements;

What is not included?

  • The fees of any expert witnesses we have to employ on your behalf. We will of course advise you of the available experts and their fees and we will require that you let us have their fees in advance to hold before we can formally instruct them to carry out the required work;
  • Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.
  • More than one preliminary court hearing. If we are required to attend any further interim, pre-trial hearings for you then these will be charged at £350.00 plus vat (£70) = £420.00. This will include any further preparatory work required to be undertaken between and for the hearings.
  • Any additional trial day hearings. If the trial is not concluded in a single day then additional trial days will be charged at the rate of £750.00 plus vat (£150.00) = £900.00.
  • Any hearing for sentencing in the event of conviction. If the sentencing takes place on the same day as the trial then there will be no further fees payable as this will be covered by the fee payable for that day, but if the hearing is adjourned then any single  sentencing hearing will be charged at £450.00 plus vat (£90.00) = £540.00.

Our Criminal Defence Team

All of our solicitors undertake criminal defence work and you can read more about each of them here and their grade and charge our rates here.

Other team members

Please click here to see more about Howards

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