VHCC Legal Aid Appeal Allows Intervention - 13th May 2014
The Court of Appeal have today allowed the Lord Chancellor to intervene in a challenge to the decision to stay a very high cost case prosecution hit by protest action over cuts to legal aid. The Court is hearing an appeal by the Financial Conduct Authority against a decision by His Honour Judge Leanard earlier this month to stay the “Operation Cotton” prosecution against five Defendants. The FCA argues that the stay should be reversed as sufficient public defender service advocates would be available next January and it is in the public interest that the case is adjourned until then. The FCA argued that the Crown Court should have opted for an adjournment as a lesser remedy than a stay.
We will have to await the outcome of the appeal. Under the current system freedom of choice of solicitor is available to Defendants subject to a criminal prosecution. Defendants are not obliged to use a public defender scheme but can use a solicitor who has a contract with the Legal Aid Agency. Our firm has a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to provide legal aid services to Defendants in criminal cases in Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow in Furness. If you are unsure of your eligibility for legal aid then you would be best advised to contact our criminal defence supervising directors, Duncan Nightingale and Maureen Fawcett.
Maureen Fawcett is a solicitor based at our Barrow in Furness office and specialises in criminal defence work
Duncan Nightingale is a solicitor based at our Lancaster office who is a higher court advocate
If you are looking for legal aid representation in Kendal then you should contact our Kendal criminal defence solicitor, Jackie Partington who supervises our Kendal office for criminal defence work.