Criminal proceedings can have a huge impact on your life. From the the initial proceedings through to the long term effecta criminal record can have on your future career prospects.
You don’t have to face this alone. Our specialist criminal Public Access Barristers are committed to providing advocacy, advice and client care of the highest possible standard.
In addition to the mainstream criminal areas such as drug charges, violent assault or fraud, we have developed a widely recognised reputation in more specialist areas, including food hygiene, regulatory crime and trading standards. We have consistently achieved the results sought by our clients described by Legal 500 as “among the leading sets on the circuit, 1 Crown Office Row hosts a number of well-respected criminal practitioners”
Criminal proceedings are not just brought against individuals. Companies often face proceedings for regulatory crime. Owning and operating a business means you will be responsible for these cases. We have an expert team of public access barristers with deep knowledge and understanding of offences that affect your company. This includes:
In what can seem a complicated area of law, we have advised and helped clients, especially those in construction, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels and the leisure industry. We can both prosecute and defend these cases, which enables us to understand a case from both perspectives and get you the best outcome in the shortest amount of time.
As well as the most common health and safety offences, we have been instructed in cases involving breaches of fire regulations, asbestos regulations and working at height regulations. We have dealt with cases from minor work-related injuries to major premises fires and deaths at work, where the whole future of a business may be at stake.
We have particular experience in dealing with the national and European regulations concerning waste movement, storage and disposal, as well as water and air pollution offences.
We are very used to dealing efficiently and sensitively with prosecutions against food business operators whatever their size and reputation.
Cases that we deal with include: sale of faulty goods, fraud, counterfeiting, misrepresentation as to membership of trade bodies etc. under the various statutes and regulations.
Crime broadly covers sexual offences, violent assaults, drug offences but we also offer expertise in regulatory crime including health & safety, food hygiene, trading standards, fraud, and environmental health.
We represent both individuals and businesses. It is essential in most cases to obtain legal advice when you are first charged. If you have been charged with an offence and seek specialist advice and representation, our dedicated team of skilled criminal practitioners will be able to assist.
Generally speaking, the type of Court is dependent on a number of factors, the most prominent being the type of offence with which you are charged. The first oral hearing (in a court room before a ‘judge’) will always be in the Magistrates’ Court. It is at this stage that a decision is taken as to which court will deal with the rest of the proceedings. If the relevant offence is one which is likely to attract a sentence of more than 6 months, it will be transferred up to the Crown Court for trial (plea of Not Guilty) or sentence (either where there has been a plea of Guilty, or a trial has taken place in the Magistrates’ Court, you have been found guilty and the Magistrates are satisfied that the type of sentence that should be passed is more than 6 months’).
Direct Access, also known as Public Access, allows you to directly instruct a barrister to act on your behalf, without using a solicitor or intermediary as is traditional. You are managing your case. However, not all cases are suitable for direct access and only barristers specifically trained to accept direct access instruction can assist you. Meet our trained barristers here.
We use a 4 step process outlining how you can instruct a barrister directly: Enquire, Discuss, Confirm, Instruct. Each stage is designed so we can make sure your case is suitable for direct access. It enables our clerks to find the right barrister, at the right price, for the right time just for you. Read more about the process here.
It is your responsibility to provide clear, concise instructions for your barrister to work towards your desired outcome. They cannot manage your case or your affairs nor can they handle money on your behalf.
Each case is different and some cases are not suitable for direct access instruction. For this area Clients using legal aid are not suitable for Direct Access so should instruct us using a solicitor.
Some cases require more day to day management so are not suitable for direct access. In this case, we will not progress beyond the Enquiry stage of our process but you can instruct us using a solicitor.
Fees can be a fixed amount for agreed upon work or an hourly rate with a set limit. Your case is unique but our experienced clerks can provide an accurate fee once you have submitted your enquiry form. Generally speaking, fees can vary depend on how senior a barrister is and how many hours work are needed but you’ll be aware of exactly what you are spending. Read more about our fees here.
There are three types of offence category: summary only, indictable only, or either-way:
These are the least serious matters that can only appear in the Magistrates’ Court*. Matters charged summarily include offences such as minor driving offences and common assault.
These are more serious matters which carry a much higher penalty. As such, they may only be dealt with in the Crown Courts. Offences such as murder or manslaughter are indictable only and carry a maximum life sentence.
These are offences which, within themselves, range in severity, and therefore also vary in the sentence that may be imposed. The severity of the offence is determined on the unique facts of each case, and so it is possible that lower end offences will remain in the Magistrates’ Court where the correct sentence would be one of 6 months or less, whereas a more serious version of that offence, attracting a sentence of more than 6 months, will go up to the Crown Courts where the sentencing powers are wider. Theft is an example of an either-way offence, which can attract a maximum 6 months in the Magistrates’ Court, or a maximum 7 years in the Crown Court. Alternately, even where the Magistrates are satisfied they can retain jurisdiction of an either-way case, it is possible for the defendant to elect a jury trial in the Crown Courts.
Upon receiving this enquiry form a Public Access Clerk will contact you to discuss your case in further detail. Please see our 4 steps outlining the process of instructing a Direct Access Barrister.
1. Submit an enquiry
Fill out our form, designed to collect as much information as possible about your case.
2. Speak to a clerk
After carefully reviewing your form, a specially trained Clerk will get in touch to confirm if your case is suitable for one of our Direct Access Barristers.
3. Receive a client care pack
Once our Direct Access Barrister has agreed in principle to represent you, you will be sent a ‘client care letter’.
4. Instructing a Barrister
If you want to go ahead after agreeing to your client care letter, it’s time to instruct your Direct Access Barrister. Download a PDF of this process here.