Private Fees for Magistrate’s Court Cases
Legal Aid is granted only to those who are eligible; it is assessed on both financial means and merit (i.e. the seriousness of the case). We are always happy to advise you on your eligibility for legal aid and assist with making the application to the Legal Aid Agency.
It is important to note; however, that for quite a number of offences, such as motoring offences, simple possession of drugs and some minor public order offences, you may not be eligible for legal aid. Such offences are usually known as ‘Summary Only’ offences whereby they are only dealt with in the Magistrates Court or are unlikely to be committed to the Crown Court as they are not deemed to be serious enough. Such offences include the following:
• Simple Possession of class A, B, C Drugs
Public Order Offences (Public Order Act 1986)
• Section 5 Disorderly Behaviour
• Driving with excess alcohol.
• Drug driving
• Driving with no insurance.
• Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
• Driving whilst disqualified.
• Driving without due care and attention/Careless driving.
• Driving whilst using a mobile phone.
• Driving in excess of the speed limit.
• Failing to stop after an accident.
• Failing to report an accident.
• Failing to provide a specimen.
• Failing to provide driver details.
For these offences where legal aid would not be available, our hourly charging rates are:
1. a Director or Solicitor with over 8 years qualification- £275 per hour plus VAT
2. a Solicitor under 8 years qualification - £220 per hour plus VAT
3. Non-qualified staff - £145 per hour plus VAT
Please note, we may be able to offer a fixed fee (agreed fee); however, this will depend on an initial assessment to determine whether the case is suitable for us to proceed under an agreed fee arrangement. Such assessment will involve looking at the complexity of the case and work likely to be involved, the number of witnesses, and your intended plea. If your case is deemed suitable for an agreed fee arrangement, our fixed fees are as follows:
• Preparation, attendance and advocacy representation at a single hearing to deal with a guilty plea and mitigation: £750 plus VAT
• Preparation, attendance and advocacy representation at a single hearing to deal with a guilty plea and mitigation where the Court is more than 30 miles (round trip) away from the Fee Earner’s office: £750 plus VAT, plus £100 per hour or part-hour spent travelling (exclusive of travel disbursements)
The team at Dexter Henry & Co have a wealth of knowledge and experience in representing clients for such matters and achieving favourable outcomes for our clients.
The fixed fees referred to above include our legal costs and travel disbursements. If a non-travel disbursement is required in your case, for example an expert report, this disbursement would not be covered within the fixed fees and you will therefore be required to pay for them, including any VAT chargeable at 20% Also, if the expert were required to attend court to give evidence at your trial, you would also have to pay for their costs associated with attending court. Pricing for disbursements of this kind will vary depending on the kind of expert report required and the nature of the defence being run.
Please contact us to discuss whether your case is suitable for a fixed fee.
One important question that you will want to know is how long it will take for your case to conclude. This will be dependent upon a number of different factors, including whether you have pleaded guilty or not guilty, whether you are on bail or in custody and the seriousness and complexity of the allegation(s) against you.
For example, if entering a guilty plea at your first hearing in the Magistrates’ Court, it is possible that you could be sentenced at that same hearing and therefore your case could conclude at one single hearing. If; however, the court felt it would be useful and appropriate for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by probation in order to assist the court with its sentencing exercise, then your case could be adjourned for a further three weeks in order for probation to prepare their report.
In contrast, if you were entering a not guilty plea in the Magistrates’ court, depending on your bail position and the court’s availability to hear your case, you could find yourself waiting in excess of a year for a trial to take place. Of course, courts will try to accommodate a trial date at its earliest available slot, but this can sometimes take a while.
We will always aim to give you clear and accurate information regarding likely timescales as you case proceeds and more information becomes available.
When preparing for trial, we will meet with you to go through the prosecution papers with you and obtain your full instructions and comments on the evidence. We will prepare your Proof of Evidence, which is a document containing your detailed instructions. You will be sent this document for your to read through carefully and approve. This will contain the details of your defence which we will present to the court at trial. We will also obtain witness statements from any potential defence witnesses who may be able to support your defence case.
Where appropriate, before your case even gets to trial, we often prepare detailed written representations to the prosecution, inviting them to review their file and discontinue their case against you. Within those representations, we will clearly set out any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case which would suggest there is insufficient evidence of securing a conviction at trial and set out any personal mitigation which would suggest it would not be in the public interest for your case to proceed to trial.
Of course, our aim is for you to be acquitted or for your case to be discontinued even before it gets to trial. If, however, you are convicted or you plead guilty, we will always present the court with full details of your personal mitigation, seeking to persuade the court to impose the most lenient sentence upon you, as appropriate to the facts of your case.