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Stoke Newington Chambers

Private Client Criminal Defence

When justice feels like a conveyor belt, it pays to have a bespoke legal service and advice.

Austerity cuts have demolished legal aid. For the majority of cases and clients, the possibility of the government paying for a barrister or even solicitor at trial is non-existent. Even if you are eligible for legal aid, it’s likely your solicitor or barrister is earning less per hour than your plumber. Some legal aid lawyers say they are earning less than the minimum wage.

Let me tell you a secret: the only way many legal aid solicitors are able to stay afloat is by volume. Private defence work subsidises their high-street legal aid fees – and helps pay their overheads and staff.

Here’s another secret: most Magistrates Courts trial advocates prepare their cases the night before. It’s the only way they can cope with the volume.

If that wasn’t enough, cuts to government spending have also slashed the number of Magistrates Courts in this country.

But the cases haven’t gone away. That means that the remaining courts – and criminal defence solicitors – are going to be busier and busier.

And how does the government propose to speed up the courthouse conveyor belt?

The latest idea is for the courts, and the lawyers in those courts, to do split-shifts.

“The pilots are expected to begin in May, in six courts over six months. Crown courts will be open until 6pm, civil courts until 7pm and magistrates’ courts until 8.30pm”.

Where does that leave YOU when your advocate has been working on someone else’s case until 8:30 pm (or later) the night before your trial?

I run a low volume / high quality legal practice – I’m in the Magistrates Court every week, rather than every day.

And because I’m a self-employed barrister as well as a sole practitioner, I don’t have office space or chambers’ to rent to pay or any payroll to meet. When clients instruct me, they pay for my time and expertise – and not my overheads.

When your reputation is at stake and you are spending your hard-earned money for legal services, it pays to ensure that you are buying you what you need – a trial lawyer with time.

A trial lawyer who knows your case inside and out, backwards and forwards.

A litigator who has time to prepare by doing legal research – and the time to pick procedural and evidential holes in the other side’s case.

A direct access barrister who has the time to meet with you – at your office or my conference room – and give you clear advice about your best way forward.

An effective advocate who knows what to say to the Magistrates, how to say it – and when to say it.

Why be just another case on a conveyor belt when you can get value for your money by instructing me to fight your corner?

It’s never to soon for us to talk.