Court Representation

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence or summonsed to court, our team of specialist criminal defence solicitors includes skilled court advocates with wide-ranging experience across Magistrates Court, Crown Court, and Youth Court matters.

We are one of the few leading criminal law firms to accept clients on both a legal aid and private basis, making our high quality services some of the most accessible in London and the UK.

We understand the anxiety you are probably feeling as your court date approaches. This may be your first time attending court and you are probably feeling stressed about the impact of criminal proceedings on your life, from your liberty, to your family, to your job and reputation.

Our criminal defence team are devoted to providing you with expert advice and representation every step of the way, ensuring you get the fair trial to which you are entitled and giving you the best possible chance of being acquitted.

For further information from our expert criminal defence solicitors, give us a call today on 0207 790 4032 or email For out-of-hours calls, please call 07841 454 170.

Magistrates Court

All criminal cases start at the Magistrates’ Court and by far the majority of cases conclude there. 

Our team includes solicitors who specialise in dealing with cases in the Magistrates Court and who will guide you through the process, explaining your options and advising you as to how the case is likely to develop at every stage. 

We have a depth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all summary only matters including road traffic offences, allegations of domestic violence, theft, benefit fraud and environmental health prosecutions.

Our reputation is founded on over 100 years of providing quality advice and assistance, tenacious and persuasive advocacy in court and achieving the best possible results for our clients.

Crown Court

We are at the forefront of criminal defence solicitors in the UK and we are regularly instructed in the most serious, complex and high profile criminal cases.

If your case progresses to the Crown Court it will be fully prepared by one of our experienced team, offering excellence and efficiency throughout the course of the proceedings. 

We have extensive experience in all areas of criminal law, with specific expertise in serious and organised crime, murder, terrorism, money laundering, robbery and drug offences.

Our firm are approved members of the Very High Cost Crime Panel (VHCC), which is limited to firms with the proven expertise in representing those charged with the most grave, complex and demanding cases prosecuted in England and Wales.

We have an unparalleled reputation in tactical decision making, for having a tenacious approach to the evidence and in ensuring every last detail of the case is thoroughly prepared.

Members of our crown court team have expertise in fraud and allegations of financial crime and we have wide experience in seeking to lift restraint or receivership orders from assets of defendants or third parties to criminal proceedings.

We can offer advice and representation in relation to investigations, tribunal hearings and criminal prosecutions brought under the provisions of the Financial Services legislation. We are frequently instructed on behalf of professional bodies to represent their members and we regularly advise in cases of corporate and involuntary manslaughter as well as Health & Safety prosecutions.

Our firm has a dedicated in-house crown court advocacy team headed by one of our partners Natalie Berman who has in excess of 10 years trial advocacy experience. The in-house advocacy team offer a bespoke service and continuity of representation throughout the case.  Our firm also has strong links with several well regarded sets of barristers’ chambers specialising in criminal law and we are able to ensure representation by the most highly rated advocates in the profession.

Youth Court

Our Youth Department is dedicated to providing an expert and comprehensive service for young people suspected of or charged with offences and their families. We draw on the wealth of experience within the firm to provide assistance, advice and advocacy tailored to the specific problems and concerns which arise when under 18s find themselves having to deal with the criminal justice system.

Our team was formed to cater for the particular difficulties that are encountered in this highly technical area, from first time alleged offenders, to others in breach of previous court orders or facing serious matters alone, with other youths or in conjunction with adults.

Recognising the particular needs and vulnerabilities of young people in police stations, charged with offences or awaiting trial, the department will deal with key issues such as:

  • Organising appropriate adults
  • Obtaining third party assessments
  • References and reports
  • Liaising with multi-disciplinary agencies

We can also offer advice and assistance in relation to Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, applications for Anti -Social Behaviour Orders and Criminal Behaviour Orders.

Providing clear and comprehensive reassurance and guidance for parents and carers as well as suspects and defendants in challenging circumstances, the department is focussed on managing anxieties and providing the fullest possible information and involvement with the process, whilst using the available legal and procedural provisions to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you would like to discuss a matter with the Youth Department then please telephone 0207 790 4032.  Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form. and we will contact you.

Court representation FAQs

I’ve received a court summons, what should I do?

Contact us as soon as possible and we can arrange an appointment to discuss your case and decide a plan of action. We can also talk about funding options, including your eligibility for legal aid.

What is the difference between Magistrates Court and Crown Court?

All cases start in the Magistrates Court where the suspect is given an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.

The Magistrates Court mostly hears less serious cases (called “summary offences") although it also hears some “either way offences” (named as such because they can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or Crown Court).

Common offences handled by the Magistrates Court include most motoring offences, assault, and drug offences.

The Crown Court hears the most serious offences (called “indictable offences”) and some either way offences. Crown court trials are heard by a jury of 12 members of the public and presided over by a judge. The proceedings are more formal than the magistrates court and examples of offences dealt with include murder, sexual offences, robbery and fraud.

Can I get legal aid for court cases?

Criminal legal aid is available in some circumstances for court cases. There are two tests used to establish eligibility for legal aid:

  • Means test – your finances, including your income, household expenses, and whether you have any children or dependants will be assessed to determine whether you are financially eligible for legal aid. If you are under 18 or on certain benefits, you will automatically pass this test. This is referred to as “passporting”.
  • Interests of justice test – the merits of your case will be taken into account, including whether you’re likely to lose your liberty as a result of being convicted

For further information about legal aid, please visit our funding and legal aid page.

What happens if I plead guilty at court?

Pleading guilty means admitting you committed the criminal offence. The court will then sentence you immediately or set a date for a later sentencing hearing. You will usually receive “credit” for pleading guilty at an early opportunity, which could be up to a third off your sentence.

We can provide advice on whether pleading guilty is your best option and whether there are any possible defences we can explore. We can also prepare and present mitigating factors on your behalf at your sentencing to try and get your sentence reduced as much as possible.

What happens if I plead not guilty at court?

If you plead not guilty to the offence, your case will be adjourned and a trial date set.

Depending on the type of offence you are accused of, your trial could take place in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.

 How does sentencing work in the UK?​

If you are convicted of a crime, your sentence will depend on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, your age, whether you have any previous convictions, whether you pleaded guilty or not guilty, and whether there are any mitigating factors.

In the Magistrates Court, you can receive up to 6 months in prison (or up to 12 months for more than one offence), an unlimited fine, a community sentence (such as unpaid work), and/or a ban (such as disqualification from driving).

Even if you plead guilty in the Magistrates Court, if the Magistrates decide the suspect deserves a sentence longer than 6 months, they will be committed to the Crown Court for sentencing.

In the Crown Court, you could receive a prison sentence up to life in prison, an unlimited fine, and/or various community sentences.

Why choose our criminal defence lawyers?

At Edward Fail, Bradshaw & Waterson, we are recognised as one of the leading firms of criminal law solicitors in both London and the UK. We are consistently ranked in the top band of firms by Chambers and Partners for our skills and we are Law Society accredited in Criminal Litigation.

We are one of the few leading law firms to still offer both legal aid and private funding options. We were founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to high quality legal advice and it’s a value we still carry over 100 years after our formation.

Based in East London, we are extremely proud of our heritage and ongoing services to our local community. However, we also enjoy an enviable national reputation and are happy to assist clients across London and the UK.

Get in touch with our criminal defence solicitors today

For further information from our expert criminal defence solicitors, give us a call today on 0207 790 4032 or email For out-of-hours calls, please call 07841 454 170.

To speak to one of our experts please get in touch