We are located at:

Smith Dawson Solicitors

8 King Street

Wolverhampton

WV1 1ST

Contact us now:

Telephone: 01902 310007

 

24-hour emergency police station assistance: 07860 632220

 

E-mail:

criminal-department@smithdawson.com

 

family-department@smithdawson.com

 

 

 

           Our Client Care Policy

Smith Dawson Privacy Policy

 

Please read this Privacy Policy carefully as it contains information on who we are and also how and why we collect, store, use and share personal information.It includes your rights in relation to your personal information and how to contact us and the relevant authorities in the event that you have a complaint.

 

Who we are

 

Smith Dawson Solicitors use and are responsible for certain personal information about you.  We are regulated by the General Data Protection Regulations. Frank Calleia is the person responsible for data protection.

 

The legal basis for processing information is that of contracted obligation as set out in Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulations.  This requires at least one lawful bases for processing to be satisfied.

e areInformation we collect and use

 

In acting for you we will collect personal information that you provide.  This may consist of name, address, phone number and email address.

 

How we use your personal information

 

We use the information simply in order to contact you and keep you informed as to progress on your matter.

Sharing your personal information

 

We will not share your personal information with anyone unless we are obliged by law to do so.  This will include providing information to the Legal Aid Agency, the National Taxing Team, our Accountants and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Each of those third parties have safeguards in place designed to ensure your privacy rights.

 

How long your personal information will be kept

 

We will hold your personal information for no longer than necessary.

Your rights

 

Under the General Data Protection Regulations you have a number of important rights which include:-

  1. Access to your personal information
  2. Require us to correct any mistakes in your information which we hold
  3. Require us to erase personal information concerning you in certain situations
  4. Object at any time to the processing of information concerning you for direct marketing

 

For further information please refer to the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office on individuals rights under the General Data Protection Regulations.

 

If you would like to exercise any of your rights then you must contact us with full details.

 

Our Privacy Policy confirms that your details will never be used for marketing.  We may occasionally contact you about services that we believe may benefit you.

 

Finally we confirm that we have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost or used or accessed in any unauthorised way.  Access to your personal information is limited to those who have a genuine business need to know it.  Those that process your information are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

 

If there are any suspected data security breaches involving your personal information you will be notified as will the Regulator where we are legally required to do so. 

 

Complaints procedure

 

Our complaints procedure is detailed in our client care letter and on this web page

 

Who we are and what we do

 

During the course of the case you may come across any of the following people -

 

Solicitors

    Andrew Brocklehurst     Frank Calleia     David Dorrance     

       

Accredited Police Station Representative;

  • Francesca Calleia-Robinson

Administration Clerk;

  • Kay Brown

Secretaries

  • Miranda Jones   Hannah Hitchin   

 

Barristers and Agents - When we use a Barrister or Agent we always try and choose someone who will look after you sympathetically.  If you have any difficulties or preferences please let us know.

 

Looking after you -

  • In the Police Station - any one of us may be with you at a police station or we may use an Agent. The agents we use are Accredited Police Station Representatives, Maurice Malcolm, Steve Singh and Claire Riches.
  • In the Magistrates Court - one of our solicitors will look after you but if your case is outside Wolverhampton or you have a trial we may use a Barrister or an Agent
  • In the Crown Court – one of our solicitors or solicitor advocates may look after you or you will be represented by a barrister. We do our best to choose the most suitable advocate for each case.
  • In the Office - when we give you an appointment we will tell you whom it is with.  Sometimes that person is unavoidably held up somewhere else, at Court for example.  If that happens we shall either arrange for you to see someone else straight away or make you another appointment
  • In the Prison - If you are unfortunate enough to be locked up one of us will visit you or speak to you via video link

 

Financing your case

Who should read this?

 

You should read this if you are or a child of yours under 18 is

  • Under investigation for a criminal offence or
  • To appear in court for such an offence

To avoid unnecessary repetition, our use of the word you includes the parent of a child under 18 where appropriate.

 

Investigations at the police station and prison

 

If the police or Customs and Excise want to speak to you, you are entitled to free representation.

 

Investigations outside the police station and prison

 

If any other investigators want to speak to you, you are entitled to free representation if a constable is there, otherwise you may be entitled to advice. See below.

 

Advice

 

Advice is help with your case which does not include representation.You are entitled in the first instance to two hours' free legal advice if you, or if you are the parent/guardian of a child under 18

 

Income Limit

 

Disposable income not to exceed £99 per week. Passported if in receipt of

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guarantee State Pension Credit
Capital Limit
  • £1,000 for those with no dependants
  • £1,335 for those with one dependant
  • £1,535 for those with two dependants with £100 increase for each extra dependant
  • No passporting – capital must be assessed in all cases

You will have to let us have some evidence of your financial circumstances. How much work we can do will depend on what your case actually needs. In appropriate cases we would be able to do more than two hours work.

 

Representation at the Magistrates Court

 

Grant of Legal Aid Order

 

You can apply for legal aid - for any matter before a court.  The court will only grant it if: -

  • You are in danger of serious punishment or
  • Your case is too difficult to handle without a solicitor.

If the court refuses your application you can appeal against that decision.

 

If the court grants you a legal aid order you will not have to pay towards the cost of your defence in the magistrates court or in the crown court if the magistrates send you there for sentence.

 

If your case goes to the crown court you may be ordered to pay towards the cost of your defence. This is fully explained in leaflet CF2.

 

Withdrawal of a Legal Aid Order

 

Once granted your legal aid order will normally run until your case finishes. The court must however consider withdrawing your order if -

  • The charges against you are changed to lesser offences for which the court would not have granted legal aid
  • you no longer want to be represented
  • we can no longer represent you and the court decides it should not give you a legal aid order for another solicitor. The court cannot do this unless it is in some way your fault that we can no longer represent you
  • you do not accept the terms on which you are offered representation.

If your legal aid order is withdrawn and you want to carry on being represented you can appeal to the same court against that decision.

 

Private Client Arrangements

 

If your case is not covered by any form of public funding and we cannot do it without payment, we can only look after you on a private client basis.

 

What are our fees?

 

Our charges are normally £200.00 per hour plus VAT plus disbursements.

 

We will provide an estimate of our costs at the outset of your case HOWEVER most cases will be suitable for a fixed fee arrangement

 

Fixed Fee Arrangements

 

Our fixed fees for different types of cases are set out below.  If we enter into a fixed fee agreement with you these figures are the maximum you will have to pay except

  • If we incur any expenditure to someone else on your behalf e.g. a doctor’s report, that will be an additional cost.  This is called a disbursement
  • We also have to charge VAT

 

Representation in guilty pleas

 

This means

  • advice
  • telling the court your side of the story

Our fixed fee is ₤500.00 + VAT

 

Representation on not guilty pleas

 

This means

  • advice
  • taking witness statements
  • representing you in court
  • preliminary hearings including pre-trial review
  • trial
  • sentence

Our fixed fees for trials not exceeding one day:-

  • ₤1,000.00 + VAT
  • trials taking more than one day attract a further fee of £500.00 + VAT per day

Travel

 

This covers travel to a court outside Wolverhampton within 45 minutes travelling time.

Our fixed fee is ₤50.00 + VAT per return journey.

 

NB – travel to courts further away will be charged on an hourly basis or by agreement.

 

Terms of retainer

 

All claims for costs, whether on account or final invoice, must be paid within seven days.

 

Payment of Interest on Client Monies

 

We have a policy on the payment of interest in accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules. This policy is available upon request.

 

If you are successful

 

If you successfully defend the allegation(s) against you we shall ask the court to make a defendant’s costs order for the payment out of public funds of

  • The costs of your defence
  • Any out of pocket expenses you have incurred during the case e.g. travel

NB – a defendant’s costs order does not cover loss of earnings

 

The court should normally grant an order.

 

We will prepare the claim for our costs and send it to the National Taxing Team. You will be responsible for claiming you own out of pocket expenses. Most courts have an expenses claim form for you to fill in.

 

If our costs are paid in full then we will return to you any monies already received from you.  We will do this upon receipt of payment to us from the court service

 

If our costs are not paid in full by the court service then they will be paid from monies received from the court service plus monies received from you in respect of our agreed fee. This may mean that you will not be fully reimbursed. Any surplus will be returned to you once we receive payment from the court service.

 

Are there any alternatives?

 

If you have any legal expenses insurance, this may cover you for your case. It depends on the wording of the policy. Some legal expenses insurance is often included in household insurance policies. If you have household insurance or any other insurance you think may help, you must let us know so that we can look into it.

 

Prosecution Costs

 

Although you will not have to pay your own costs, if you are convicted you may still have to pay the prosecution costs in your case.  How much that is depends on the type of case and how much the court thinks it can properly order you to pay. 

 

Financing your case in the Crown Court

 

Evidence of means

 

If your case is sent to the Crown Court , unless you have already pleaded guilty and the Magistrates have sent you to the Crown Court for sentence, then you will automatically qualify for legally aided representation once you have completed an application form. After you have been means tested, you may have to pay towards the cost of your defence. This could be from income whilst the case is ongoing and/or from your capital, if you are convicted.

 

You will be asked to provide evidence of your income and assets. If you do not, your payments could be increased which would result in you paying more towards your defence costs. If you do not tell the truth on your legal aid application about your income, assets and expenditure then you could be prosecuted for fraud.

 

You will not have to pay towards the costs of your case if you are under 18 when you make your application or if you receive any of the following benefits:- Universal Credit, guaranteed state pension credit or income-related employment and support allowance.

 

You may have to pay towards your costs if your monthly disposable income is above a certain level. If this is the case, then you will receive a Contribution Order from the Legal Aid Agency and you will have to make the payments as required under the Order. The first payment will be due within 28 days of your case being committed, sent or transferred to the Crown Court for trial. You must tell the Legal Aid Agency about any changes to your financial circumstances during your case because any changes may affect the amount that you will have to pay towards your defence costs. If you don't think that you can afford to pay, or if you think that a mistake has been made, you can ask for a review of the amount the Legal Aid Agency has told you to pay.

 

At the end of your case, if you are found not guilty, any payments that you have made will be refunded to you with interest. If you paid late, or not at all, and action was taken against you for the  payment to be made, then the costs of this action will be deducted from your refund.

 

If you are found guilty, you may have to pay towards your defence costs from any captial assets that you may have. This would only apply if:-

  • You have £30,000 or more of assets, for example: savings, equity in property, shares or Premium Bonds; and
  • Any payments that you have already made have not covered your total defence costs.

​You will be told at the end of your case if you have to make a payment from capital and you may receive a letter from the Legal Aid Agency, or an agent working on their behalf, informing you that this assessment will now take place.

  • If you do not provide evidence of your income when it is asked for then you may have to pay a monthly contribution of £900, and/or
  • If you do not provide evidence of your assets when they are asked for then the £30,000 allowance can be removed and you may be required to pay your defence costs in full.

​Please contact us if you wish to discuss this with us further.

 

Prosecution Costs

 

If you are convicted you may still have to pay the prosecution costs in your case. How much that will be depends on the type of case and how much the court thinks it can properly order you to pay.

 

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© Kay Brown (K.Brown@smithdawson.com)