The Purkiss Partnership
St Georges Road
The Purkiss Partnership is contracted with the LEGAL AID AGENCY in accordance with the terms of the General Criminal Contract is authorised to provide legal assistance and legal representation under Legal Aid, WHEN AVAILABLE in relation to:
Whether ‘Legal Aid’ will be available, to a particular applicant, in a particular set of circumstances is not a straight-forward issue each case needs to be considered on its own unique circumstances.
Please take advantage of ‘free initial advice’ from one of our solicitors to see whether LEGAL AID may be available to you.
More detailed advice and specifics relating to ‘LEGAL AID’ can be found on the ‘JUSTICE’ Website operated by the Ministry of Justice.
Based upon what is written in the ‘ CRM 14 ’ the Legal Aid Agency assess whether the case is sufficiently complex or serious to justify the grant of LEGAL AID.
If there is a genuine risk of ‘custody’ then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
If there is a real risk of ‘losing employment’ then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
If there is a real risk of ‘damage to character’ then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
If a ‘Complex Issue of Law’ will arise then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
If vulnerable witnesses are involved then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
If ‘Expert Evidence’ may be required then the MERITS TEST is usually passed.
It is important that ALL relevant matters are contained within the CRM 14 ‘Application Form’ otherwise LEGAL AID may be refused when it should have been granted.
If the Legal Aid Agency REFUSE to pass the application based upon the MERITS an appeal lies to the Magistrates. In limited circumstances other appeals may exist.
Based upon what is written in the ‘ CRM 15 ‘ and what is confirmed in pay slips, bank statements and other means documentation required, the Legal Aid Agency assess whether the applicants INCOME meets strict ‘financial eligibility’ criteria.
Only INCOME is taken into account in Magistrates’ Courts matters.
The ‘eligibility criteria’ are NOT generous.
Most applicants in full time employment on even a modest income will not initially be assessed as eligible for LEGAL AID.
(A HARDSHIP appeal can be lodged in some circumstances.)
In Magistrates’ Courts cases you either PASS both MERITS and MEANS TESTS, in which case LEGAL AID is granted FREE OF CHARGE or you fail one or both tests and LEGAL AID is REFUSED.
ii) in the Crown Court:
In Crown Court cases all applications have to be submitted through the local Magistrates’ Courts.Initially the same forms, the CRM 14 and CRM 15 have to be completed, together with pay slips and other financial documentation.
Initially the process is exactly the same although most cases that proceed to the Crown Court would pass the MERITS TEST that is applied.
At the Crown Court the means test is significantly different.
Initially the Legal Aid Agency calculates an applicant’s income. (taking partners income into account)
If the income level is below a certain level LEGAL AID is granted FREE OF CHARGE.
If the ‘disposable’ income level is above a certain level LEGAL AID is REFUSED.
In between the two levels the Legal Aid Agency will make an assessment of how much an applicant must contribute from INCOME and grant LEGAL AID but will require (and enforce) the payment of 6 x monthly payments of up to £900 per month towards defence costs that may be incurred as the case progresses.
IF the applicant is found NOT GUILTY then any payments made will be refunded (with interest).
If the applicant is found GUILTY in addition to possibly contributing to Prosecution Costs he will be expected to pay towards Defence Costs incurred.
a) If DEFENCE COSTS amount to £1,000 but the applicant has paid £1,800 the £800 balance will be returned to him.
b) If DEFENCE COSTS amount to £5,000 but the applicant has already paid £1,800 from income and he has less than £30,000 in CAPITAL then he will NOT be asked to pay any further amounts towards DEFENCE COSTS.
c) If DEFENCE COSTS amount to £5,000 but the applicant has already paid £1,800 from income and he has say £40,000 in CAPITAL then he will be asked to pay an additional payment from CAPITAL of £3,200 to cover all defence costs incurred.
For advice on applying for LEGAL AID in such proceedings please make use of the ‘free initial advice’ service the firm operates.
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