We are a Firm with unparalleled levels of experience in the local area. All lawyers are experienced Police Station and Magistrates’ Court Duty Solicitors. We have our own in house advocacy team and routinely accept instructions in serious and heavyweight criminal cases.
We have found that continuity of representation is something that our clients value above all else. Clients are always offered the choice between an in house advocate and an independent Barrister as we firmly believe that if achievable, everybody should be represented by the Advocate of their choice.
Due to the nature of the service we provide, we operate an emergency service to cover police station representation during unsociable hours. We are happy to accept third party instructions from family members of somebody detained at the police station, although the detainee themselves will have to consent to us acting.
We will always be in a position to apply for Legal Aid on behalf of those who are eligible for assistance. In order to be eligible, certain financial criteria must be satisfied and it must be in the interests of justice to grant Legal Aid. Generally speaking, Legal Aid is granted if there is a real risk of a Defendant losing their liberty although there are many other factors which may justify a grant.
We have represented Defendants for offences ranging from making off without payment to murder. We frequently update our own legal knowledge and are well equipped to deal with any offences regardless of complexity or seriousness.
High quality advice and assistance at the Police Station is the best foundation for any defence. What occurs at the Police Station, whether a person has been arrested or if they are present as a ‘volunteer’, can shape the future of any future prosecution, or avoid one altogether.
All lawyers are experienced Police Station Duty Solicitors and are members of the Carlisle and Penrith scheme. In addition to this, we offer a 24/7 Police Station service for any suspects requesting LT Law.
Situations where detainees have been dissuaded from requesting the services of a solicitor regrettably still exist. You would not be kept for hours to wait for a solicitor from this Firm. We aim to attend all police stations promptly at any time of the day. There may be times when all lawyers are dealing with other matters and unable to immediately attend. These situations will be few and far between and we would always endeavour to communicate with anyone waiting to be interviewed.
A further misunderstanding is that if a person is working they will have to pay for assistance at the Police Station. This is not true. Our assistance is available FREE OF CHARGE at the Police Station for any matters where a person is detained for interview or if they are to be interviewed as a volunteer for an imprisonable offence, whether we are duty solicitor that day or not. There are a number of other grounds which justify free assistance at a police station, which we can discuss at the time we receive the call.
Once there, our role includes establishing that a person’s legal rights have been upheld, obtaining information about the alleged offence and the evidence said to support it (frequently called ‘disclosure’)and filtering this information to our clients. Forewarned is forearmed! Thereafter, we consult with our client and advise on the law and how to deal with the interview. We then remain and assist throughout the interview process before dealing with any representations or issues that arise from the interview such as bail and identification procedures.
Overall, we offer a complete service at the Police Station and frequently attend to deal with the most serious and sensitive allegations.
Defence representation at a Magistrates’ Court can only be undertaken by a Solicitor or Barrister. This is due to the high quality of advocacy required frequently now with very little time to prepare in.
Over recent decades, there has been a radical overhaul in the way in which Magistrates’ Court proceedings are conducted. Whilst both Partners are qualified Court Duty Solicitors and are rostered to frequently appear as such at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, that representation can only apply for the first day of the case and time to prepare is minimal.
You will now find that the vast majority of proceedings at a Magistrates’ Court are listed according to what plea somebody has indicated when they are charged at the police station. This can significantly restrict the quantity and quality of information available to lawyers on the first day.
Far better, you may think, to instruct us in advance of your appearance as we will be able to obtain your case papers prior to the first hearing and advise you in relation to your plea, the strength of the evidence, the availability of any legal or technical arguments and the likely sentence.
Cases are now ‘front-loaded’ and a plea will in 99.9% of cases be taken at the first hearing. If the plea is guilty, the case may well proceed immediately to sentence. If the plea is not guilty then a case management hearing will commence where the Court will rigorously examine the Defendant or Defence Solicitor as to the issues that are in dispute to determine who should attend the Trial, how long it will take and what disputed issue needs to be determined.
This can be a daunting process and we pride ourselves in providing a first-class service to our clients by being thorough, combative if necessary and sensitive to our clients’ instructions and needs. We will at every stage endeavour to explain what will or may happen in straightforward language.
A Trial is a process all of its own. Once it begins, it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen due to the many things that can be said by witnesses. We frequently represent clients at Trial and are regularly appointed by the Court to cross-examine witnesses whom a Defendant has been prevented from cross-examining in person.
We are in the privileged position of having experienced Litigation and Advocacy teams in the Crown Court. Cases at the Crown Court often carry greater complexity and by their nature, greater sentences. In the way that the Magistrates’ Court has evolved, the Crown Court has recently ‘gone digital’ and we are as prepared as anybody else for the brave new world that this heralds.
We instruct Barristers and Queen’s Counsel in a number of cases. The majority of our clients prefer to instruct one of our in-house Advocacy Team due to our professional reputation, continuity in representation and accessibility to that representative. We have had recent success in sensitive and complex criminal cases and are accustomed in dealing with intense media scrutiny in such cases. Ultimately, the choice of representative will be determined by our client, who may wish to instruct a particular Barrister for the expertise that they offer.
All cases will be conducted with sensitivity and skill. This is particularly important at an early stage of the proceedings as all Defendants (represented or not) have a duty to directly engage with the Prosecution at the outset; for example indicating guilty pleas, discussing pleas to lesser offences, or if the case is to be a Trial, the key issues in the case. Many sentencing hearings will now take place on the day that any guilty plea is entered, which is an even greater incentive for securing quality representation early. Few people would wish to embark upon mitigating their own case before a Crown Court Judge!
Court Of Appeal
Appealing a decision made by a Crown Court Judge or a Jury is a highly specialised area of the law. It is not a decision to be taken lightly and we are fortunate to have accrued decades of experience in such matters.
Most members of the public will have heard of miscarriages of justices. They are mercifully rare, but of course do occur. When they do, they undermine the very principle of justice that we all hold dear. What could be worse than spending several years in prison continually protesting your innocence having been disbelieved by a Jury? This is an inherent risk in a system where a person can be convicted on the words of witnesses or ‘fleeting glimpse’ identification cases.
We offer a service where we can advise on the prospects of an appeal against conviction out of time but it should be borne in mind that this is something that public funding is likely to unavailable for and there are no guarantees that the Court of Appeal would grant leave to appeal.
On the other hand, it may be that we have acted for somebody whom we believe has been wrongly convicted or their conviction is unsafe due to the Trial Judge falling into serious error. In such cases we would advise on appeal within the strict timeframe and lodge grounds of appeal with the Court of Appeal.
Sentencing appeals are more straightforward. These are generally made within the time limits as we would advise on whether the length or type of sentence was wrong in our view at the time. If our advice is positive, we would lodge the appeal with the Court of Appeal and contest the case.
We are available to assist with all matters on appeal and should you require any further information, please get in touch.