Disadvantages of Legal Aid

McMillans Solicitors are specialist sexual offence lawyers who offer a level of service far superior to that offered by the traditional high street Legal Aid solicitor.

We do not offer free advice and representation under the government’s Legal Aid scheme for the following reasons:

Unfortunately, year on year the fees recoverable from criminal legal aid work have been slashed by the government (so much so that legal aid lawyers are actually going on strike!) to the extent that it is, in our opinion, only possible to make a profit from such work if you compromise on quality in relation to the experience and expertise of the staff trusted to carry out the work and the amount of time devoted to investigating and preparing cases.

In the circumstances we have no desire to become involved in criminal legal aid, as we are 100% committed to providing a quality and comprehensive service to our clients where no stone is left unturned in the preparation of their defence.

Unlike some embattled Legal Aid solicitors our clients will never be represented by unqualified or inexperienced individuals as a means to save costs. Similarly we will never compromise on quality by sending a lawyer to court or police station to represent numerous clients at the same time, as is often the case with the typical legal aid firm trying to keep its head above water.

It is also an unfortunate fact that as the government has sought to reduce the cost of criminal legal aid, less and less individuals have been eligible for public funding before the magistrates’ court. This includes anybody on modest income and a significant proportion of self employed individuals.

Below is an easy to read comparison between the services offered by McMillans compared to that offered by old-fashioned criminal legal aid firms:

  McMillans Solicitors Traditional Legal Aid Firm
Guaranteed to be advised throughout by a specialist solicitor with at least 14 years’ post qualification experience?
Access to your own dedicated specialist solicitor (via his or her mobile phone) 24 hours a day 7 days a week?
Guarantee that you will never be seen by a trainee lawyer or other unqualified individual?
Guarantee that if you appear at court or at police station your lawyer will not be juggling your case with numerous other clients?
Guarantee that the solicitor who is representing you at court or at the police station will not also be acting as the ‘Duty Solicitor’?
Unlimited office appointments at no extra cost?
Simple Fixed Fee with no forms or evidence required in relation to your income, savings and outgoings?
Restriction on the amount of time spent discussing matters with you and preparing your case?
Monthly contributions of 90% of your disposable income for serious cases before the Crown Court and the possibility of a charge being placed on your home if this does not cover the cost of your defence?  

Further information on the government’s criminal legal aid scheme can be found at www.gov.uk/legal-aid.

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