A guide to the Legal Aid changes…from a criminal law perspective

April 1, 2022

The new Criminal Law Legal Aid Scheme will take effect on 1 April 2022.

Under the new scheme an individual who needs a lawyer in connection with criminal proceedings may be entitled to legal representation free of charge.

In this article we explain the key features of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.

How do I get Legal Aid?

You can apply online or by contacting the Legal Aid office on 01534 613999.

You will need to complete a Legal Aid application form and if you meet the eligibility criteria you will be granted Legal Aid.

Can I choose my lawyer?

Yes. Under the new scheme an applicant may select a lawyer from a panel of accredited practitioners.

What is the criteria to qualify for Legal Aid?

  1. Residence – There is no residency test. Any individual who might be subject to criminal proceedings before a court in Jersey will have access to Legal Aid in connection with those proceedings.
  2. Financial – Eligibility is based on the individual’s income and capital. An individual will be entitled to Legal Aid provided they earn less than £50,000 per annum and the total value of their capital is worth less than £50,000. An individual’s capital includes the value of property or equity in property, savings, investments, etc.
  3. Subject Matter – The scheme covers all criminal cases in the Royal Court, Magistrate’s Court and Youth Court, excluding offences for which the maximum sentence is a Level 2 fine.

Will I have to pay?

Individuals who qualify for Legal Aid will not be required to pay anything to their lawyer under the scheme.

What will not be covered under the scheme?

The only offences not covered by the scheme are offences subject to a maximum sentence of a Level 2 fine, currently £1,000. This means that individuals charged with relatively minor motoring offences, for example speeding or failing to wear a seatbelt, will not be entitled to Legal Aid.

How can BCR Law help me?

Advocate Francesca Pinel is an accredited lawyer under the scheme.

If you do not meet the financial eligibility criteria BCR Law LLP has an experienced criminal law defence team led by Advocate Adam Harrison.

We are able to offer you a fixed fee for dealing with matters in the Magistrate’s Court and Royal Court.

If you require our assistance please contact our criminal team

Get in touch
+44 (0) 1534 760 860
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