For Representation Provided at the Police Station, Magistrates’ Court and/or the Crown Court

Please note that this information is intended for general guidance only, and is not intended to provide a definitive guide to Criminal Law or Procedure.  We will of course provide more specific advice in relation to your case either at Court or by appointment at our offices.  If in the meantime you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Client Confidentiality

The Law Society imposes a general duty upon all solicitors to keep client affairs confidential, and this extends to all matters communicated to a solicitor by the client or on behalf of the client.  There are however certain exceptions to the general rule which include the following:

  1. Where the client expressly authorises us to disclose information;
  1. Where we represent more than one client on a particular matter, no conflict of interest arises, and you have authorised us to disclose information;
  1. Where a client is funded by the Legal Services Commission, we are under a duty to allow access to the client’s file for the purposes of ensuring that we are complying with the costs and quality standards laid down by the Legal Services Commission. In such circumstances the Legal Services Commission is also under a general duty to keep all information of a confidential nature relating to a client strictly confidential unless they are specifically required by legislation to disclose information;
  1. Where a client is funded by the Legal Services Commission, a solicitor has a duty to report the fact that the client has abused legal aid or has intentionally failed to comply with any provision of the regulations, or has knowingly made a false statement or representation;
  1. Where a solicitor is otherwise expressly required to disclose information by Act of Parliament.

Should you have any queries in connection with the above, or regarding any other aspect of client confidentiality, we will be happy to provide more specific advice.

Complaints Procedure

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients.  The firm’s definition of a complaint is defined as “any expression of client dissatisfaction however it is expressed”.  This follows the Legal Services Commission definition of a complaint and also conforms to the Law Society Complaints Procedure.

We aim to offer our clients an efficient and effective service.  During the course of your case if there are any matters upon which you are concerned or require clarification or you are dissatisfied with, including this firm’s bill, then you should contact a member of our team who will attempt to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.  We would ask that you first try and resolve any issue with the fee earner having conduct of your case and thereafter with the allocated Supervisor.

Should you remain dissatisfied then you may refer the matter to our Complaints Partner, Oliver Gardner, with a view to the matter being resolved after it has been fully investigated. If your complaint is with regards to Mr Gardner you may direct your complaint to Peter Casson.  We would hope that we would have been able to resolve any outstanding concerns or queries that you might have, but should there be any remaining issues to be resolved, then our Director will be pleased to address any further difficulty.

If for any reason you continue to be dissatisfied then you have a right of further complaint to the Legal Ombudsman who would investigate the matter further on your behalf after first allowing us 8 weeks to deal with your complaint. If your complaint is solely in relation to this firm’s bill, you may also have a right to object to it by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not however deal with a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for assessment of that bill.

Should you wish to complain to the Legal Ombudsman you should do so within 6 months of your last contact with us. Their contact details are: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ Tel: 0300 555 0333; or Email: [email protected].  You can find more information about how to make a complaint on the Legal Ombudsman website at: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

If you do have a cause to complain then please use our internal complaints procedure initially as it is highly probable that the matter will be resolved to your satisfaction and at the earliest possible opportunity. A copy of our complaints procedure is available upon request.

Fee Earners

Your case will be handled by a named fee earner, solicitor or paralegal.  In order to comply with Law Society requirements and to ensure high standards of legal service provision; all cases are supervised by a director or senior lawyer.  We may delegate certain tasks to paralegals even if a solicitor is allocated to your case.  This will only be done for routine work and will be supervised and will be done only to reduce costs to you.

Professional Fees – Private

If we are representing you on a private basis we determine our charges based on an hourly rate.  The hourly rate differs depending upon who carries out the work and details of the hourly rates are set out below.  Please note that letters and telephone calls will be charged at one tenth of the usual hourly rate.

Please be aware that all our charges are subject to VAT at the standard rate.

It is our policy to request that fees be paid in advance.  We will provide you with an estimate of our likely fees at the outset and should that estimate change for whatever reason we will advise you immediately.

We will deliver invoices to you on a regular basis so as to allow you to easily budget for our fees.  We will ask that our invoices be met by return.  If there remains outstanding any invoices as at the date of any court appearance we will be unable to attend the said court appearance and any future court appearances until our fees are brought up-to-date.  It may be the case that we have agreed a fixed fee for representing you in which case you will receive confirmation of the fixed fee in writing.

Hourly rates
Partner: £200-225.00 per hour
Assistant Solicitor: £160-180.00 per hour
Trainee Solicitor/Paralegal: £120-150.00 per hour

In order to ensure efficiency of costs to you, the solicitor handling your case may delegate certain suitable tasks to a trainee or a paralegal whose work will be fully supervised.

We seek to ensure that you have as much information as possible as to the likely cost of the case, and in line with Law Society requirements, we include herewith an estimate of the amount of hours we consider will be involved in this case and an estimate of costs. These estimates rely on the instructions and information with which you have already provided us. However, factors such as the complexity of your case and legal issues involved may increase or decrease our costs estimate accordingly.

You will be provided with an estimate of the likely costs at the out-set and this will be reviewed regularly.

Should there be any change to our estimate of the likely costs then we will endeavour to update you immediately.

Please note that, unless specified otherwise, all invoices issued to you are immediately payable on receipt by you. If payment is not received from you in respect of fees outstanding, we may refuse to carry out any further work on your case and we may inform the Court that we wish to be removed from the Court Record in advance of the conclusion of the case.

In the event that disbursements (fees for third parties such as experts or a barrister or other goods/services) are required on your case, we will agree these with you in advance. We will only instruct an expert or barrister if we are in receipt of full fees from you. Fees for disbursements will be paid into a client ledger which will only be used to pay the disbursement when invoiced.

Generally, when an expert is required to attend Court, their charges will be paid by the Court. Should the court refuse to settle the expert fees in full, you would be responsible to pay to Howards any balance invoiced to Howards by the expert.

In the event that we have agreed to provide representation on fixed fee basis please note that regardless of the amount of work undertaken the full fixed fee becomes payable. However, in circumstances where the case ends sooner than anticipated (for example if the case was going to trial and you decide to plead guilty or if the prosecution drop the case) then the fixed fee will be reduced by a certain amount for each hearing that was originally anticipated but that has not now taken place. Usually this will £300.00 plus VAT per hearing. In circumstances where additional hearings than were originally anticipated are required than a fee of £350.00 plus VAT to £500.00 plus VAT will be charged per additional hearing.

Please also note that that if the fixed fee is not paid by you and we are forced to take action to recover our costs then we reserve the right to abandon the fixed fee and charge for the total amount of time which may be more than the fixed fee originally agreed. In such circumstances you will be provided with a full breakdown of the time spent on the case.

Recovery Of Defence Costs Order

In the event that we are successful in the case we will make an application for a costs order on your behalf.  If a costs order is granted, our file will be submitted to the National Taxing Team for assessment of our bill by a determining officer unless the amount is agreed in advance.  Any part of the bill that is determined as reasonable will be authorised for payment by the court.  The Government have passed new laws which mean that for all cases from October 2012 the rates recoverable will be equivalent to legal aid rates.  This means you should only expect to recover, at best, your costs at legal aid rates which are about one fifth of the normal rates we charge.  It is sometimes the case that the taxing officer refuses to pay for certain items of work undertaken by us on your behalf as well as any disbursements that we have incurred on your behalf.  In such instances the difference between our claim for costs (based on time spent multiplied by the hourly rate plus any disbursements) will be passed on to you.  Whilst we may not agree with the assessment of costs by the National Taxing Team, we reserve the right not to challenge the assessment if we consider that it would be too costly or time consuming to do so.

Following legislation in January 2014, it is now the case that for cases in the Crown Court, a defence costs order will only be considered if the Claimant can demonstrate that he/she first applied for legal aid and had that application refused.  Therefore, if you chose to fund your case privately in the Crown Court and do not first unsuccessfully apply for Legal Aid, you cannot claim your costs back even if you win your case.

Please note that following the making of a defence costs order the court can take up to 3 months, and sometimes longer, to assess our claim and make payment so in the event of a defence costs order we ask you to be patient as per reimbursement of your fees.

Our Professional Fees – Legal Aid

We will generally only represent you on a privately funded basis.  However, where you will be eligible for legal aid we will advise you accordingly.

If legal aid is granted then our fees for representing you will be covered.  You should understand that the current rules provide that if you lose your case before the Crown Court only you can be ordered to pay towards some of the legal aid you have benefited from.  The Judge in the Crown Court will normally make a determination as to what, if any, contribution you should make based on your personal financial circumstances.

Legal aid is available to anybody requiring advice and representation at the police station following arrest and with a police interview.  Entitlement to legal aid in this respect is irrespective of means and the nature of the allegation.

This scheme is not extended however to cover advice and representation required outside of the police station.

If you are charged with an offence then you may be able to make an application for full legal aid to cover our further fees for representing you.  If however you are not charged with the offence and you are simply subjected to police bail pending a decision on charge then we will only be able to undertake further work for you on a legally aided basis if you qualify on the means test.  Even if you do qualify for such further assistance under the legal aid scheme you should understand that the amount of advice we can provide under this scheme is extremely limited.

If on the other hand you are charged with an offence then you may be eligible for full legal aid which will cover our fees for providing representation to you throughout the case so long as the legal aid remains in force.

Legal aid is not granted automatically following charge.  An application will have to be made, we will assist you in this regard but the legal aid office will consider the means of the applicant and also the nature of the charge.  It may be that legal aid is granted but a contribution from the applicant has to be made.

We will of course assist you with any application for legal aid that you may wish to make and we will advise you on the likely merits of such an application and what information will be required in support of the application.

Whilst we will assist you with the application it is your responsibility to provide the information to enable the Legal Aid Agency to assess your application.  We will advise you of what you need to provide but if you fail to do so and the application is not granted or is delayed then we will be unable to represent you or undertake any work on your case during the meantime.  We cannot commit to attending court until we know the Legal Aid is granted.

There is an ongoing obligation upon you to ensure that the Legal Aid Agency is provided with accurate information regarding your means and therefore if anything changes you must let them or us know straightaway.  Providing false information to benefit from Legal Aid is a criminal offence.

If the application for legal aid is refused we will advise you whether the decision can be appealed.  Usually an appeal would involve a letter of representation to the legal aid office and if that is unsuccessful then the matter can be considered by the magistrates.  If legal aid is initially refused and we have to appeal that decision on your behalf then we will have to charge you our private rate for any work we undertake until the application for legal aid is granted, if it is granted.

Since the introduction of new legislation in January 2014, Legal Aid in the Crown Court will not now be granted to anybody earning more than £37,500 per year.  If you earn less than this amount you will be granted Legal Aid but may have to pay some contribution towards the cost of your Legal Aid.

It is often the case that the monthly contributions total more than the amount we will be paid for the case.  However, in such circumstances you will receive a refund from the Legal Aid Agency in due course.

Other Potential Costs Associated with your Case:

Prosecution costs:

Whether or not you benefit from legal aid to help pay towards your legal fees, you must also consider the likelihood that, if you are convicted of an offence, you may also be liable to pay towards to the prosecution costs of bringing the case against you.  Typically the prosecution costs can range from £85.00 for an early guilty in the simplest of cases to over £1,000.00 following an unsuccessful trial in the Magistrates’ Court.  The costs may be even more following a Crown Court trial.  The court has a discretion to order you to pay some, all or none of these costs and will make such a determination only in the event you are convicted and based on your personal financial circumstances.

Criminal Court Users Charge:

This charge was introduced in April 2015 and relates to offences committed only after that date.  The court has no discretion and must order a person convicted of an offence to pay this charge regardless of the circumstances.  The charges vary depending upon the type of case and only apply to a person who has been convicted.  The following link will take you to the Government’s own fact sheet which explains more about this charge and the amounts in question:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/336085/fact-sheet-criminal-courts-charge.pdf

Victim Support Service Charge:

This is a charge that is also only payable by persons convicted of an offence and is intended to be by way of contribution towards the cost of providing a Victim Support Service at the Court.  The amount is typically in the region of £50.00 but the court does have a discretion as to whether to order a person to pay this.

Your Money Held in our Client Account

Should we be required to hold your money, we will do so in a separate client account so your money is not mixed with ours.  From time to time the amount of money we hold and the time we hold it for may attract interest.  We have a policy on the payment to clients of interest earned.  As a general rule we will pay over interest when it is fair and reasonable to do so however when we hold small amounts of money or larger amounts for a short period of time we will not generally do so with the following exceptions:

  • Where the calculation of interest payable is more than £100.00;
  • Where we hold an amount equivalent to the amount shown in the left hand column below for a time equivalent to the period in the right hand column below:

Amount                                               Time

£1.00 to £5,000.00                           8 weeks
£5,000.00 to £10,000.00                  6 weeks
£10,000 to £20,000.00                     4 weeks
£20,000 and over                             2 weeks

Where the sum exceeds £20,000.00 and is held for less than 7 days we will not generally pay over any interest.  The amount of interest payable will be the amount payable on the account in which the money is held.

Provision Of Service Regulations 2009

We comply with the above regulation by displaying the required details of our professional indemnity insurance in each of our offices.

Before Your First Appointment

Please remember to bring all relevant papers for the first appointment.  If you are not sure which papers are relevant bring anything that you think will be helpful.  This will make it much quicker and easier to find out what your problem is and how we can help you with it.  You should also bring with you information about your own and your partner’s income, savings and outgoings, for example recent wage slips, mortgage or rent information and bank statements.

Your First Appointment With Us

At your first appointment with us we aim to:

  • Identify your problem and how we may help. If we cannot handle your case from start to finish and need to refer you somewhere else for help with part of your case then we will tell you this and give you details of where and how you will be referred;
  • Tell you who will be dealing with your case and whether or not he/she is a solicitor;
  • Explain what public funding may or may not be available to you and whether or not it will pay for advice only, police station attendances or representation at Court. We will also explain what it means by having your case publicly funded;
  • Explain what we will be doing to help you with your problem and what you need to do;
  • Tell you the likely cost both of our help and that of any firm/agency to whom we might refer part of your case. We will tell you about any contribution you have to pay and explain circumstances in which you might have to pay the costs of the other side.  You might have to repay the Legal Services Commission out of any money or property you get in your case.  This is called the Statutory Charge and will be fully explained to you;
  • Tell you how long your case might take and when you can expect to hear from us;
  • Check that we have properly explained everything you need to know and answer any questions that you may have.

After your first appointment we will confirm all these points, and anything else we tell you, usually in writing.

Keeping You Informed

If we continue to deal with your case we will:

  • Keep you regularly informed of progress in your case especially if we decide we need to do something which we have not yet discussed with you;
  • Tell you of any delay and the reason for it;
  • Explain the effect of any important and relevant papers;
  • If a different person takes over your case we will tell you the name of that person and whether that person is a solicitor and the reason for the change;
  • Explain if you need to go to a Barrister and, where appropriate, discuss the choice with you.

At The End of the Case

When we finish dealing with your case we will:

  • Tell you the outcome and anything else you need to do including whether you need to look at the matter again in the future;
  • Return any property unless you ask us to store it;
  • Account to you for any outstanding money;
  • Archive your file of papers for a period of 3 years if it was a police station or Magistrates’ Court matter and 6 years if it was a Crown Court matter after which it will be destroyed.
  • If you require any documentation from your file you should advise us no later than 14 days after the conclusion of your case. Some documents are destroyed during the archiving procedure and there will be a fee of in the region of £40.00 plus VAT (£48.00), which will be payable by you, should you subsequently require us to retrieve your file from storage.

Money Laundering and POCA

Within the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 we are now under a duty to report any suspicions brought to our attention in undertaking your case that may fall under these provisions and must make you aware that we are not allowed, in the event of us having to make a report, of advising you of the same.

As you will be aware money laundering and terrorist financing are serious threats to society.  In order to combat this activity, Parliament has passed the Terrorism Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

In order to comply with these regulations all solicitors are required to implement stringent checks and procedures to ensure that our instructions are received from bona fide clients and for genuine transactions and that any fees paid are from legitimate sources.

Accordingly, we will require a clear legible copy or the original of the following identification from all clients (one piece of identification from list 1 and one item from list 2):

List 1

  • Current passport;
  • EEA member state identity card;
  • Resident permit issued by the Home Office to EEA nationals on site of own country passport;
  • Current UK or EEA photocard driving licence.

List 2

  • A recent utility bill or a certificate from a utility supplier confirming an arrangement to pay for services. The bill must be addressed to you at your address;
  • Local Council tax bill for the current year, again it must be addressed to you at your address;
  • Bank or building society statement addressed to you at your address;
  • Recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender addressed to you at your address;
  • Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address.

We may also carry out further checks using a status checking agency if we consider this to be necessary.

Please do not take any offence by this requirement for information.  We are in no way seeking to suggest that you are in any way involved in any legal activity however in order to combat those persons involved in such activity we, as all legal practises, are required to ensure that these regulations are complied with.

In order to ensure that we can commence work on your file immediately please provide the above information as soon as possible. No work can be undertaken without the above information first having been provided.

I,                      agree to the above terms of business

Signed:                                      Dated:

Police Station, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court Information Sheet

This document is intended to assist you in understanding the process you may encounter as your case proceeds through the Police Station, the Courts or both.

We have tried to provide a simple chronology of events that you should expect to incur and we have also provided some definitions of words, terminologies, phrases and hearing names that you are likely to encounter.

Police Station

Most people who find themselves under arrest and subject to police interview at the police station have usually been arrested by the police and taken, in custody, to the police station.  However, it can be the case that a person can attend voluntarily at the police station and by appointment to be arrested and subsequently interviewed.

The police can also interview a person about their alleged involvement in an offence without that person being under arrest and this is likely to occur more often nowadays.

If you are not under arrest then you are free to leave at any time and do not have to consent to an interview taking place at all.

If, on the other hand, you are under arrest you must be taken to the police station without delay and the circumstances of your arrest must be conveyed, by the arresting officer, to the custody sergeant who will then decide whether you can be lawfully detained so that the police may interview you and carry out any further investigations.

Once the custody sergeant has decided that you can be lawfully detained you will be booked into custody and usually placed in a cell until the police are ready to interview you.

Your detention must be reviewed regularly throughout your period in police custody and prior to charge/release.  The custody sergeant can release you at any time if he/she considers that your further detention is no longer necessary.  However to ensure that your detention is regularly reviewed and that you are not forgotten about the law requires that the sergeant considers your further detention after you have been in custody for 6 hours and then again at no longer than 9 hour intervals up to a maximum of 24 hours.  You can only be detained for longer than 24 hours and up to a maximum of 36 hours on the authority of an Inspector.  The Inspector can authorise your further detention from the 24 hour period for any period up to but not exceeding the 36 hour point.

Thereafter only a Court can authorise your detention for up to a maximum of an additional 72 hours.  The police must make an application to the Court if they wish to detain you without charge for longer than 36 hours and following that application the Court can authorise your further detention for any period up to the maximum period permitted in law and if the Court does not authorise detention for the maximum period then further applications can be made during that period by the police to take your detention up to the maximum period permitted by law.

You are entitled to free advice and representation at the police station and access to a solicitor cannot be denied other than in the most extreme of circumstances, in terrorism cases.

Once your detention is no longer necessary or lawful the police must either charge you, bail you to attend back at a later date pending further enquiries or release you without any further action.

If you are released without any further action then that will usually be an end to the matter.

If you are released on police bail then you will usually be required to attend back at the police station on a future date.  You must attend on that date unless you are advised to the contrary.  If you do not attend you will be committing an offence.

The police may also impose certain conditions that you must adhere to during the period of your bail.  Such conditions can be challenged in the Magistrates’ Court if the Sergeant will not agree a variation of them.

If you are charged then you will either be granted bail by the police to attend at the local Magistrates’ Court several days’ later and again the bail can have certain conditions attached or you will be kept in custody by the police to be produced at the next available Court sitting which will usually be the following morning unless that happens to be a Sunday in which case you will be kept in custody until the Monday.  The Court does sit on a Saturday morning.

Hearings in the Magistrates’ Court

At this first hearing the Crown Prosecution Service will supply us with the significant statements in your case and if the matter is straightforward you will be asked to enter a plea.  More complicated cases my, in rare circumstances, be adjourned for further instructions by either the Crown Prosecution Service or by ourselves.

Plea Before Venue: If the charges are such that they can be heard in either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court (either way offences) then you will be invited by the Court to indicate a plea.  Before you make the decision your case worker will discuss matters with you fully.  If you indicate a guilty plea, then the Magistrates may proceed to Sentence, adjourn for Pre-Sentence Reports or commit your case to the Crown Court.  If you do not indicate a plea or plead not guilty, then a decision is made by the Court as to whether your case will be heard at the Magistrates’ Court or at the Crown Court.

In the case of either way offences the Magistrates’ Court will usually consider, based on the prosecution facts and your previous convictions, whether the matter is so serious that they cannot deal with the matter.  If they decline jurisdiction to deal with the matter then you will have no alternative but to have your matter dealt with in the Crown Court.  If the Court accepts jurisdiction to deal with your case then you can choose to take it to the Crown Court if you wish.  You will obviously be fully advised as to the merits of both a Magistrates’ Court and a Crown Court case so far as it is relevant to your matter.  If the matter is to be heard at the Crown Court the case will be adjourned and the next hearing will be in the Crown Court for plea.

Before the Plea Before Venue Hearing you will be invited to make an appointment at our office so that we can discuss all aspects of your case and provide advice on your options in relation to the above.

Summary Only Matters:  This is the definition given to offences that can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.  Enclosed is a non-exhaustive list of summary only offences but you will note summary only offences include the more minor offences and most traffic related offences.

Either Way Offences: As explained above either way offences are offences that can be tried either in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court.  Enclosed is a non-exhaustive list of either way offences.

Indictable Only Offences: Indictable only offences are offences that can only be dealt with in the Crown Court.  You will still make your first appearance following charge before the magistrates but they will simply transfer your case to the Crown Court as a matter of procedure and you will be provided with a date in due course when you will make your first appearance in the Crown Court.  Enclosed is a non-exhaustive list of indictable only offences.

Pre-Trial Review:  If you have pleaded not guilty and you are going to have a trial in the Magistrates’ Court then before the trial the Court will sometimes list a Pre Trial Review or Case Management Hearing.  At this administrative hearing the Court will assess the issues relevant to the case and if necessary order upon those issues and so hope that by the time the trial date comes around there will be no issues outstanding that will prejudice the trial from proceeding.

Trial: This is the hearing whereby your case will be heard in full and a finding of guilt or otherwise will be made.  A trial in the Magistrates’ Court will either involve a single District Judge or a Bench of 3 Lay Magistrates.  A trial at the Crown Court will be heard by a Judge sitting with a Jury of 12 of your peers.  You must attend any hearing when you are subject to bail but more importantly you must attend your trial if you are to put forward your defence.  If you do not attend then a trial can proceed in your absence and that will only prejudice the outcome.

Pre-Sentence Reports:  These are reports prepared by the Probation Service in order to assist the Court in determining the most appropriate sentence in your case.  The Probation Service will usually meet with you, consider the evidence and outline, for the benefit of the Court, the pros and cons of the different sentencing options available to the Court.  The Court does not have to follow the recommendation in the report but we advise you to co-operate fully with the probation officer preparing the report in order to ensure the most favourable report possible in the circumstances.

Timescale:  The time taken for your case to conclude will vary depending on certain factors.  It is very difficult to estimate the likely timescale however the following is a rough guide:

Guilty plea in the Magistrates’ Court

Your case is likely to be concluded within 3 weeks of charge.

Not guilty plea in the Magistrates’ Court

Your case is likely to be concluded within a maximum of 4 to 6 months after charge.

Crown Court

If you plead guilty in the Crown Court then your case is likely to be concluded within 6 to 9 months however following a not guilty plea in the Crown Court your case could last between 12 and 18 months before it reaches a conclusion.

Bail: If you are granted bail by the Court certain conditions may be attached to your bail by either the police or the magistrates or a Crown Court Judge.

It is important that you comply with such conditions since a breach may lead to a remand into custody pending the conclusion of the case.

You may apply to the Court to alter your bail conditions but such application must be made on notice and if you need to vary your condition, for example because you are going on holiday or because you are moving address, please provide us with plenty of notice so that we have sufficient time to make the application on your behalf.

It may be that you are granted bail without conditions and therefore the only requirement upon you would be that you attend Court on each and every occasion set by the Court.  If you fail to attend Court on the dates specified and subject to your bail you could be found guilty of an offence under the Bail Act which can result in up to 6 months’ imprisonment being imposed upon conviction.

Summons: If the Police have not charged you and bailed to you to attend at Court they may issue a summons requiring your attendance at Court.  If you receive a summons you will be provided with a date on which to attend Court.  You do not actually have to necessarily attend in person so long as you either send written representations or your solicitor attends on your behalf.

However, there are circumstances when although you are subject to summons the Court will not be able to make progress with the case in your absence.  For example, if you are going to plead guilty to an offence which may involve the Court disqualifying you from driving you will need to be present and similarly the Court cannot deal with the issue of venue in the case of an either way offence if you are not present.

Ordinarily if you appear before the Court on summons then the Court will allow you to remain on summons which will mean that you are not subject to bail.  However, in certain circumstances the Court may admit you to bail of its own volition although this is unlikely unless you are summonsed for serious matters or the Court has cause to think that you may not attend on a future date.

HOWARDS SOLICITORS LIMITED

Summary Only Offences

  1. Most driving offences except dangerous driving, causing death by dangerous driving;
  1. Minor assaults;
  1. Minor Public Order Act offences;
  1. Low level harassment allegations

Either Way Offences 

  1. Theft;
  1. Burglary;
  1. Handling stolen goods;
  1. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (Section 47);
  1. Wounding or GBH (Section 20);
  1. Possession of a Bladed Article;
  1. Possession of drugs;
  1. Fraud;
  1. Criminal damage over £5,000.00;
  1. Breach of Anti-Social Behaviour Order;
  1. Violent disorder;
  1. Affray;
  1. Racially Aggravated Public Order offences;
  1. More serious harassment allegations;
  1. Indecent assault;
  1. Witness intimidation;
  1. Threats to kill 

Indictable Only Offences 

  1. Murder;
  1. Rape;
  1. Robbery;
  1. Conspiracy;
  1. Manslaughter;
  1. Perverting the course of justice;
  1. A third dwelling house burglary will be treated as an indictable only offence whereas a burglary is normally only an either way offence;
  1. Certain sexual grooming offences involving children;
  1. Riot offences

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

When we accept your request to advise you or act for you, as a Consumer, we effectively enter into a contract with you.

On-Premises Contract

Normally if you attend our offices in person (we meet you face to face) and we agree to accept your instructions then the contract between us will be entered into “on our premises” (i.e. an “on-premises contract”).  Then, provided we have given you sufficient information for you to make an informed decision, e.g. an indication of the likely overall costs and disbursements then no right to cancellation normally arises and you will be liable for the costs and disbursements incurred in fulfilling your requests and instructions.

Off-Premises Contract

If however, we meet you in person but away from our offices e.g. at your home, or in hospital, then if we agree to accept your instructions, you will have the right to cancel the contract (i.e. an off-premises contract) as set out below.

Distance Contract

Also, if we have not met you in person and only communicated with you by phone, e-mail, letter or fax to accept your instructions (i.e. a distance contract) then similar rights of cancellation arise.

Rights of Cancellation

You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.  This is sometimes called a “cooling off” period and gives you the opportunity to change your mind.

The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract between us.  This day is the date we accept your offer to act for you.  This will be the date shown on our initial client care/terms of business letters which we will send to you. The client care and terms of business letters together set out the main characteristics and scope of the legal services we are providing to you.  They will tell you what we will and will not do and explain your responsibilities.  This information should enable you to make informed decisions about your matter.  If you are unclear about any information we provide then please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification/further information.

To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us, in writing, to:

Howards Solicitors, Suite 2, 1st Floor, East Wing, Westpoint, 501 Chester Road, Old Trafford, M16 9HU or

E-mail:  [email protected], or

Fax: 0161 872 9699

of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement.

To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.

Effects of cancellation

If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you.  We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than 14 days from the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.

We will normally make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.

Requests by you for us to start work during the 14 day cancellation period

We will not carry out any work within the cooling off period unless you expressly instruct us to do so, in writing.

If you requested us to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, (e.g. because you wanted the work done or advice given urgently) you will be liable to pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed by us until you have communicated to us your notice of cancellation of this contract, in comparison with the full service which would have been carried out, under our contract with you, had you not cancelled.

I confirm that I have read and understood the above information regarding my right to cancel our contract.

By signing this form I request that you start work for me immediately and I confirm that I understand the consequences of this as set out above.

SIGNED                …………………………………………………………………………………..

FULL NAME

DATED                  ……………………………………………………………………………………