Will I get legal aid for my criminal appeal?

If you qualified for legal aid in the Crown Court this will cover an application for leave to appeal if (and only if) your solicitor or barrister thinks you have grounds to appeal. If so they will issue the appeal for you on those grounds. If they don’t think that you have grounds to appeal you should ask them to explain why – in writing. You might need this later if you try to appeal using another legal team or ‘in person’ (without a lawyer).

If you think that your barrister is wrong  in his/her advice, legal aid might still be available but only in limited circumstances. This includes (a) where there has been a change of circumstances since the first advice, (b) where the first advice is obviously wrong and (c) where there is some fresh evidence. In those situations  you might still qualify for legal aid. Sometimes legal aid can also be available through another firm of solicitors where you are dissatisfied with your previous legal team.

If you qualify for legal aid and you think that you might be eligible for another advice, you  should first contact a specialist appeals solicitor. If you qualify for legal aid your case will be unsuitable for the “direct access” scheme (instructing a barrister directly). In such cases your solicitor can instruct a barrister later if it’s right for your case.

If you did not qualify for legal aid in the Crown Court, or if you have been told by a solicitor that you do not qualify for legal aid, then it might be possible for you to instruct a barrister directly. If you have a query about whether your case is suitable for direct access, please contact the practice team at Garden Court North who will be glad to assist you.

© Appeals Barrister

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