The duty solicitor provides legal advice, assistance and representation to those people who face disadvantage in court due to factors such as a lack of financial resources, lack of understanding of court procedures, language barriers, cultural background, age, physical or mental health, and gender.
What are duty solicitors UK?
A Duty Solicitor is an independent Solicitor, from a local law firm. These law firms work on a rota basis, so the Duty Solicitor you are appointed will be from any of the law firms in the area. However, you can request a preferred law firm, such as Howells, to represent and advise you.
Can I get a duty solicitor at court UK?
• Court duty solicitors
These solicitors are available to clients who have already been charged with a criminal offence but require representation at the Magistrates Court. They are often hired by those who do not already have a solicitor or have not been able to contact their regular solicitor.
How many duty solicitors are there in the UK?
In England and Wales, there are two duty solicitor schemes, which operate in parallel. The police station duty solicitor scheme enables a person who is arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence to consult with a solicitor, either in person or on the telephone (and frequently both) whilst in police custody.
Are duty solicitors free at court?
Any person who is charged with an offence for which you can receive a prison sentence for is entitled to a duty solicitor free of charge at court for the first court hearing. The duty solicitor is from a panel of local solicitors who take turns to be on rota for the day.
Do duty solicitors work for the police?
A Duty Solicitor is a Criminal Defence Solicitor who helps offenders if they are suspected or accused of committing a crime. They are qualified to work for a firm, or independently on a self-employed basis, but are neither a member of the police force nor employed by the courts.
Can you change your duty solicitor?
To transfer a Representation Order to a new solicitor, you will need to make a separate Application to Change Solicitors to the Court. The Court will then decide whether to allow you to transfer your Representation Order or not. If the Court will not allow this, you may need to fund your defence privately.
Can charges be dropped before trial UK?
3. The prosecutor has the right to discontinue the prosecution at any time before trial or up to close of the prosecution case. After that time, the prosecution can only be discontinued with the consent of the court.
Can I represent myself in Crown Court?
You have the right to speak for yourself in court without a solicitor or other legal professional. You may choose to do this because: you think it’s better to talk directly to the judge, jury or magistrates yourself. you cannot afford to pay legal fees.
Can I get a duty solicitor at court?
You can get your own solicitor or you can ask to speak to the duty solicitor at court who will be able to give you some advice and maybe represent you. You can apply for legal aid to pay for a solicitor at the Magistrates’ Court.
Is there a shortage of solicitors UK?
However, the number of duty solicitors working in Britain dropped 7 per cent between 2018 and 2021, according to figures from the Law Society. The drop in the number of criminal duty solicitors comes amid a sharp drop in the number of young people taking up jobs as duty solicitors, the Law Society figures show.
What is a solicitor vs lawyer?
Lawyer: an individual with a law practise certificate. This involves Solicitors, Barristers, Judges, and Corporate Counsels. Solicitor: a person with a certificate of practise that is not a Barrister or a Judge.
Can police question you without a lawyer?
Being questioned without legal advice
Once you’ve asked for legal advice, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it – with some exceptions. The police can make you wait for legal advice in serious cases, but only if a senior officer agrees.
Do you have to answer police questions UK?
You don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If you don’t and there’s no other reason to suspect you, then this alone can’t be used as a reason to search or arrest you.
Can you be charged without being interviewed UK?
There is no express legal requirement that a person suspected of having committed an offence must be interviewed under caution before any decision as to whether to prosecute is taken.