Funding and Legal Aid Services

We founded our firm on the strong belief that everyone deserves access to skilled criminal defence advice and representation, regardless of the allegations against them. 

We are one of the few leading law firms recognised by Chamber and Partners and the Legal 500 to offer both legal aid and competitive private funding options, making us some of most accessible specialist criminal law solicitors in London and the UK. We are also regularly instructed by people who have legal expenses insurance.

Our criminal defence department has over 100 years of combined experience supporting and advising clients at all stages of the criminal justice system, from the initial interview at the police station, through to court hearings in the magistrates court or crown court.

We achieve successful outcomes for clients across a wide range of criminal offences, including murder, sexual offences, fraud and white collar crime, motoring offences, and conspiracy and serious organised crime.

Costs transparency and clarity is extremely important to us; we can discuss funding options from the very outset of your case, including agreeing fixed fees, hourly rates, or assessing your potential eligibility for legal aid.

For further information or to request a bespoke fee quote, please feel free to get in touch by calling 0207 7904 032 or emailing main@efbw.co.uk.

Legal Aid

Legal aid is public funding for legal advice and representation. Your eligibility will depend on the individual circumstances of your case and is assessed using two tests:

  • Means test – to assess your financial situation
  • Merits test – to assess whether it’s in the interests of justice to award you legal aid

You must pass both tests to be eligible for legal aid.

Police station representation

Everyone has the right to free legal advice when they’re at the police station. Our team includes a number of duty solicitors qualified in Police Station Representation who can attend police stations in London and across the UK in serious cases.

For further information, please visit our police stations page.

Means test

When deciding whether to award legal aid, the Legal Aid Agency will take into account your financial circumstances, including your income, household expenses, and whether you have any children or dependants.

If you are under 18-years-old or receive certain state benefits, you will automatically pass the means test. This is called “passporting”.

In the first instance, an initial means test will be carried out. If you pass this test, you will be eligible for legal aid at all stages of the criminal justice system. If you do not pass, you may still be eligible if you pass the full means test.

For further information about legal aid means testing, please visit the Government’s guidance. We can also provide clear, understandable advice about your eligibility and support you as you make your application.

Initial means test

The initial means test assesses you and your partner’s combined gross annual income + any benefits you receive. This figure is also adjusted to take into account your children. If the final figure (called “annual household income”) is less than £12,475, you pass the means test and are fully eligible for legal aid.

If your annual household income is over £22,325 you cannot get legal aid for magistrates court matters but may be eligible for crown court appeals and trials depending on the outcome to the full means test.

Full means test

If the outcome to the initial means test is over £12,475 but less than £22,325, a further means test will be applied to calculate your “annual disposable income”. If your annual disposable income is £3,398 or less, you will be eligible for legal aid.

For annual disposable incomes over £3,398, you may only be eligible for Crown Court cases. You will probably have to make financial contributions towards your case for around 6 months but these will be refunded with interest if you are found not guilty.

You cannot receive legal aid at all in the Crown Court if your disposable household income is over £37,500.

Interests of justice test

As well as the means test, you must also pass the interests of justice test to be eligible for criminal legal aid. Factors such as whether you have any previous convictions and the nature of the criminal offence can impact your eligibility. For example, the more serious the offence (and the more likely to are to lose your liberty if convicted), the more likely you’ll be eligible for legal aid.

The following criteria (called the “Widgery criteria”) will be also taken into account:

  • The likelihood of losing your liberty
  • Whether you’ve been given a suspended of non-custodial sentence which, if broken, will result in you being dealt with for the original offence
  • The likelihood of losing your livelihood
  • The likelihood of serious damage to your reputation
  • Whether there are any substantial questions of law involved in your case
  • Whether you can understand the proceedings or have the ability to represent yourself
  • Whether any witnesses need to be traced and/or interviewed
  • Whether any cross-examination of expert witnesses is likely to take place during the proceedings
  • The interests of any other person
  • Any other relevant reasons

Private funding options

We are committed to providing flexible private fee structures and clear value for money to our clients, regardless of background.

Being one of the oldest and most esteemed criminal law firms in London, we maintain strong connections with experts and counsel. Our team also includes trained duty solicitors and Higher Court Advocates, allowing us to stay by your side at every stage of the criminal justice process. As such, our rates are extremely competitive, providing you with the highest quality of skill and legal knowledge for accessible prices.

Wherever possible, we will agree fixed fees with you in advance so you can stay fully in control of your legal fees. We can also provide quotes based on our hourly rates where necessary.

Our quote will always depend on the individual circumstances of your case. However, we will always be transparent about what our service includes and how much it’s likely to cost from the outset.

Get in touch with our private and legal aid solicitors in London today

For further information or to request a bespoke fee quote, please feel free to get in touch by calling 0207 7904 032 or emailing main@efbw.co.uk.

 

 

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