JSP Client Care Booklet

Introduction

 

Thank you for instructing this firm in connection with your case. JSP Solicitors are committed to providing you with an efficient and professional service and we shall do our best to ensure that everything proceeds as smoothly as possible. We are proud that as a consequence of how well we work, we have gained entry into both Chambers Directory and Legal 500 UK.

 

Lexcel Accreditation

 

This firm has also secured the national Law Society’s legal practice quality mark, Lexcel.  This is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and gives assurance that this firm meets high client care and business management standards.  To gain and retain Lexcel accreditation, firms must undergo a rigorous initial and then annual application and assessment process.

 

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales once said that gaining and maintaining Lexcel Accreditation is no mean feat and that by undergoing the rigorous application and assessment process, firms can show the positive steps they are taking to help clients.  The scheme, she described is ‘a beacon of quality to clients and potential clients alike’.

 

Our Services

 

We are continuing to expand and have now opened offices in Benfleet and Braintree.  They are our staffed offices but we are still able to meet with you at our premises in Southend on Sea.

 

This firm only deals with Criminal Law.  We will defend you and consider ourselves the Crime Specialists in Essex, drawing on over 100 years of combined legal experience to provide you with excellent representation.  From advice at the Police Station, to advocacy before the Youth Court, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court, to advice on Appeal or about a Benefit Fraud, we are able to assist you whether you are an adult or a young person.  We work throughout Essex and our contact details are provided in this Booklet.  We will however try to help you if you are in trouble anywhere in England and Wales.  If you, a friend or member of your family have been arrested, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including at Christmas, Easter and on other Bank Holidays and can always be contacted on the emergency number:

07717 713631

 

Our Client

 

You are our client and we will act upon your instructions whilst at the same time complying with the law, the Criminal Procedure Rules and Solicitors Code of Conduct.  We will also keep your business confidential, save where we are required by the law or our professional rules to make any disclosures about your case.

 

We will notify you when we can if those circumstances arise.  If they do, they may relate to anti-money laundering or more rarely to counter terrorist funding, the criminal facilitation of tax evasion or breach of financial sanctions.  Those are subjects about which we have specific policies that can be explained to you, upon request.

 

In addition to our duty of confidentiality to you, we will also keep the data that we hold about you accurately and securely.  Your rights as a ‘data subject’ are detailed within the Privacy Statement reproduced below.

 

To provide you with additional peace of mind, this firm has data security measures in place now that will enable us to seek accreditation against Cyber Essentials.  When we accredit, you will know that our IT and other infrastructure is independently audited as secure.

 

Your Objectives

 

Your objectives as our client may vary.  You may wish to deny an offence, plead Not Guilty and fight your case to trial.  On the other hand, you may wish to admit having done something wrong and hope to achieve the best possible outcome.  Whatever your objectives are, we will record your instructions and act upon them where we are able to do so.

 

Our Commitments

 

We will abide by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) 7 Principles.  We will therefore act in a way that upholds the constitutional principle of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.  We will also act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors‘ profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons.  We will act with independence, honesty, with integrity and in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion.  We will always act in the best interests of each client.

 

As a consequence, we will update you regularly as to the progress of your case.  We will communicate with you in plain language.  We will explain to you the legal work required as your case progresses.  Where relevant, we will update you on the cost of your case.  We will also update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your case whenever there is a material change in circumstances.  We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of your case and any important changes in those estimates.  As appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your case can be funded.  We will review your case regularly.  We will advise you of any changes in the law.  We will advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider may be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your case.

 

Your Responsibilities

 

You will need to provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.  You will also need to provide all documentation required to complete your case in an effective manner.  You will finally be asked to safeguard any documents we send to you.

 

Duration of Your Case

 

A criminal case can conclude quickly or take a considerable time from beginning to end, depending in part on the nature of the case, your guilt or innocence and the evidence.  You will find further information about how long your case may last in the letter sent to you with this Booklet and we will keep you updated regarding key dates in your case.

 

File Storage

 

At the conclusion of your case, original documents and other property belonging to you, if required, will be returned to you. We will however be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.  You will be advised if your case is reviewed at any time in the future.  Old paper files are destroyed after the expiry of 6 years from the conclusion of your case.  If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge you for such retrieval.

 

All Criminal Law firms are now required to receive evidence in electronic, rather than paper form, from the Crown Prosecution Service.  As a consequence, this firm now works in a digital way.  This means that we will now only keep an electronic file about your case, rather than a paper file.  We will still store your file securely and in accordance with data protection laws and your electronic file will again be destroyed after the expiry of 6 years from the conclusion of your case.  However, we will be prevented for data security reasons from forwarding to you a copy of the evidence in your case by email and will instead send you a printed copy by post.

Declaration

 

At page 27 of this Booklet we have provided you with a declaration to sign.  Please sign that declaration and return it to us indicating you accept our terms and conditions.  Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law in England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.  There is no obligation on you to do so, but we also ask you to complete and return our Diversity Monitoring Form at page 29.  Your response can remain anonymous.

 

Confirming your identity

 

The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 require solicitors to obtain evidence of the identity of their clients.

If we work with you, we will need to see one document from List A and one document from List B below:

List A

 

    • current full passport (signed); or
    • current photo card driving licence; or
    • birth certificate.

List B

 

    • current photocard driving licence; or
    • council tax or utility bill; or
    • bank, building society, mortgage or HMRC tax statement; or
    • house or motor insurance certificate.

 

We will need to see original documents.

 

You can visit one of our offices where a copy will be taken free of charge. If you are unable to attend our offices you can go to a local solicitor who will check the documents on our behalf. There is usually a small charge for this service.

 

We are required to keep copies of the documents for 5 years following the end of our business relationship with you. We currently retain all client documents for a period of 6 years. Your acceptance of our terms and conditions will be deemed as consent for us to retain the copies of identification documents for 6 years.

 

The information we obtain from you will only be used for avoidance of financial crime purposes.

 

Privacy Statement

 

You have instructed us to act for you, or we have taken steps at your request with a view to instruction and we have received personal data about you as a result.

 

There are two types of personal data.

 

Firstly, there is the general data that everyone has, like name, postal address, telephone number, and email account.

 

Secondly, there is more sensitive data, such as health records, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, criminal conviction records, and details relating to children.

 

We hold personal data because we have a contract with you, or we have taken steps at your request prior to entering a contract with you. Even though you may not pay anything or much towards our fees because you are in receipt of Legal Aid or have an insurance policy, any contract or pre-contract arrangement is between you and this firm.

 

We hold sensitive personal data only because it is necessary for the purposes of acting for you in legal proceedings or in anticipation of legal proceedings.

 

It is our responsibility to use the data you provide only for the purposes arising from our contract with you or in preparation for a contract.

 

In order to fulfil our obligations to you it may be necessary to share your data with others such as agents, barristers, experts (for example a forensic scientist) and interpreters.

 

If you benefit from Legal Aid or from insurance cover, it will also be necessary to share data with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) or with the insurance organisation that agrees to meet your fees.

 

We are proud to hold Lexcel accreditation. As stated, we undergo yearly Lexcel audits and are always complimented on the standards we achieve. It may be necessary to share data with our Lexcel auditor(s).

 

We have a practical and legal duty to store data both during a case and after it concludes. To do so, we have to use IT providers, cloud server hosts, file storage companies, web service designers, case management systems, copying specialists, secretarial services and others. It will be necessary to share data with them.

 

Please rest assured that we have entered into written agreements with all and any external parties we may instruct or otherwise use for the purposes in furtherance of your instructions, in which we make very clear the data protection care and confidentiality owed to you.

 

Communications between solicitors and their clients are generally covered by what is known as legal professional privilege. This prevents those communications being disclosed without your permission. Privilege is a protection you enjoy on top of your rights under the Data Protection laws.

 

However and as already detailed, where we come to know about or suspect money laundering or other financial crime we are under a legal duty to make report to the National Crime Agency (NCA). This means that we will have to pass on your data to the relevant authorities if we observe suspicious financing activity, irrespective of privilege or data protection rights.

 

We have the responsibility to keep your data safe. To that end, we ensure that all information we store is protected by security measures. All portable devices are password protected. All our staff receive data protection training.

 

In the event that there is a data breach that affects you, we are under a duty to tell you of it within 72 hours and to make a report to the regulator.

 

Please note that others, such as prosecution agencies, will also have acquired your personal data. We cannot control what they do with that data. If you have concerns about the way they use it, you must address those concerns to them.

 

You have a number of rights in addition to the right to be informed  (as we have done above), the right to a guarantee that we will use your data only in furtherance of your instructions (as we have explained), and the right to data security.

 

You have the right to be provided with access to the data about you that we hold, as long as the request is a reasonable one. If the information we hold about you is inaccurate, you have the right to ask that we make corrections.

 

The data protection laws provide partial rights to be forgotten and to limit use of data. We do not think that we could comply as we have legal obligations that are not compatible with any such request.

 

If you transfer your instructions, we will of course also transfer your data to your new solicitors (as long as our fees are paid).

 

We will retain your data for a period of 6 years after your matter has concluded. Thereafter, we will cause all paper files to be destroyed and we will ensure that all data held electronically is deleted.

 

Our Data Protection Officer is Matthew Bone.

 

The regulator is the Information Commissioner’s Office at: https://ico.org.uk/

 

Please be aware that if you apply for Legal Aid, the LAA has its own Privacy Notice that you should read.  We can provide you with a printed copy but if you would like to know more, please visit the LAA website:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/legal-aid-agency

 

Responsibility for Your Case

 

The Fee Earner identified in the letter accompanying this Booklet will be responsible for your case and will carry out most of the work. However it may be necessary from time to time for others to carry out certain tasks in order to progress the matter and we have provided a list of Fee Earners below.  We work as a team.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Fee Earner responsible for your case if there is anything that you wish to discuss.  If they are unavailable you may leave a message with our Legal Administrators or with any other Fee Earner.

 

The Directors have ultimate responsibility for your case.  They are Mark Jerman, Simon Samuels, Ian Clift, L Jane Werry and Bethany Brown at the Benfleet Office and Mark Pearson and Matthew Bone at the Braintree Office.

 

JSP Solicitors is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees.  Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy.

 

We survey our clients asking them about the service we provide via our website at https://jsp.legal/contact-us/ and if you are able, please take the time to respond.

 

We are however proud that the results of recent surveys demonstrate we do not discriminate against clients.  If you provide us with a positive review, we may anonymously publish your feedback by our website and so please let us know if you do not want us to do this.

We are committed to providing you with a high level of service.  In the unlikely event that you are for any reason dissatisfied with the level of service that you receive from this firm, then you should raise your concerns with the Fee Earner who is responsible for your case or our Client Care Director, Mark Pearson. If, after such consultation you feel the problem has not been resolved, may we refer you to our Complaints Procedure outlined within this Booklet.

 

Our Fee Earners

 

Please find detailed below a list of our Fee Earners together with their email address and specific qualifications:

 

Directors

Mark Jerman                 mj@jsp.legal           Solicitor

Simon Samuels              ss@jsp.legal             Solicitor

Mark Pearson                 mp@jsp.legal           Solicitor

Matthew Bone                mb@jsp.legal           Solicitor Advocate

Ian Clift                          ic@jsp.legal              Solicitor Advocate

L Jane Werry                  jw@jsp.legal             Solicitor

Bethany Brown              bb@jsp.legal             Solicitor

 

Associate Director

Carly Denniss                cd@jsp.legal           Solicitor Advocate

 

Senior Solicitors

Christopher Whitcombe cw@jsp.legal           Solicitor Advocate

Carly Pharoah                cp@jsp.legal           Solicitor

 

Criminal Executives

Michael Rees                  mgr@jsp.legal           Accredited Rep

Derik Lamont                 dl@jsp.legal           Accredited Rep

 

Solicitors

Rachael Gray                 rg@jsp.legal           Solicitor Advocate

Ciara Bruin                    cb@jsp.legal           Solicitor

Fatimah Dhorowa          fd@jsp.legal           Solicitor

Amie Harris                    ah@jsp.legal           Solicitor

Zoe Banfield                   zb@jsp.legal           Solicitor

 

Trainee Solicitors & Paralegals

Tia Ojo                           to@jsp.legal           Trainee/Accredited Rep

Elisha Turner                 et@jsp.legal           Paralegal/ Accredited Rep

George Dixon                 gd@jsp.legal           Paralegal/Accredited Rep

Tommy Dominguez        td@jsp.legal           Paralegal/Accredited Rep

Samantha Harris           sh@jsp.legal           Paralegal/Accredited Rep

 

If your case proceeds to the Crown Court, you may be represented by one of our regular Solicitor-Advocates, Matthew Bone, Ian Clift, Christopher Whitcombe or Carly Denniss.

 

Alternatively, we will instruct a barrister at either 2 Bedford Row or 18 Red Lion Court to represent your interests.  We will identify your barrister based upon their seniority and suitability for your case.  We instruct barristers at those chambers based on the quality of service they offer and for more information, please visit their websites:

 

www.2bedfordrow.co.uk

 

www.18rlc.co.uk

 

Please ask us to provide you with further information about their services.

 

A barrister from those chambers may also be instructed to have conduct of any trial you have at the Magistrates’ Court.  Please be aware that subject to their availability, any barrister instructed on your behalf may become unavailable to represent you at your hearing and another barrister may have to be instructed quickly but this is a common feature of criminal proceedings and barristers are trained to deal with cases at short notice.

 

Legal Aid

 

Police Station

 

In the event that you are subject to a police enquiry, it is your right to have free access to legal advice.  This means that regardless of any income you have, any advice you receive at the Police Station is free to you.

 

Further, subject to your income, you may be entitled to Advice and Assistance (CRM2). This enables the firm to carry out, free of charge to yourself, some limited assistance outside the police station or for example in relation to Benefit Fraud investigations. This cannot include any advice or representation relating to court proceedings.

 

Magistrates’ Court

 

If you are charged with an offence and required to attend a Magistrates’ Court then you may be eligible for representation free of charge to yourself.  In those circumstances, you will need to apply for a Representation Order.

 

This firm will of course assist you with the relevant application form which must be submitted to the LAA.  They administer criminal Legal Aid and can receive secure, on line applications.

 

In order to be granted a Representation Order, your case will have to pass a test concerning the merits of your application which takes into account such factors as the seriousness and complexity of your case.

 

If your application for a Representation Order passes the merits test then the LAA will decide whether or not to grant your application based on your means.

 

In regards to your means, we would advise you that if you are in receipt of Universal Credit or Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit then you will be granted a Representation Order provided that you furnish this firm with your National Insurance number. If we do not have your National Insurance number on record, please provide that information to us after you are charged.

 

You will also be granted a Representation Order if you are either under 16 or if you are under 18 and still in full time education.

 

If however you do not fall into any of these categories of person, then a formal means test will be undertaken by the LAA. In that regard, the LAA may well request various documents from you in support of your application. At the very least, the LAA will require the last wage slip of yourself and any partner you live with.

 

It is appreciated by the LAA that if unfortunately you are in custody then you may not be able to provide the relevant information at the time your application for a Representation Order is submitted.  If this is the case, you will be asked to sign a declaration to confirm your means. It may well be that later the LAA will still request you provide evidence of your means in support of your application.

 

If during the currency of your case there is any change to your financial circumstances then we would remind you that you are under a duty to advise the LAA of that change.  We can then provide you with their contact details.

 

We would confirm to you that once a Representation Order is granted that will enable this firm to carry out all elements of your case to include preparation, attendance and advocacy.

 

If you are refused a Representation Order in the Magistrates’ Court because of your means, we can help you to make a Hardship Application to review that decision.

 

If you do not tell the truth on your application form about your income, assets or expenditure you could be prosecuted.

 

Please also be aware that some people now appear before the Magistrates’ Court by video link.  We can represent you for free at any first hearing by video link if you appear before the Court from a police station, whatever your income.  If your case continues after that hearing, then you will need to apply for a Representation Order.

 

Crown Court

 

If your case goes to the Crown Court for trial you will be eligible for a Representation Order if you have an annual disposable income of less than £37,500.00.  Once you have completed an application form, you will then be means tested based upon the information contained in that form.  After you have been means tested, you may have to pay towards the cost of your defence to the LAA.  This could be from your income while the case is ongoing and/or from your capital, if you are convicted.

 

You will be asked to provide evidence of your income and assets.  If you do not, your payments could be increased which would result in you paying more towards your defence costs.  As before, if you do not tell the truth on your application form about your income, assets or expenditure you could be prosecuted.

 

You will not have to pay towards the costs of your case if you are under 18 when you make your application or if you receive the same benefits detailed above.

 

You may have to pay towards the costs if your disposable income is above £12,475 per year or £239.90 per week.   If this is the case, you will receive a Contribution Order from the LAA and you will have to make payments as required under that Order.  The first payment will be due within 28 days of your case being Sent for trial to the Crown Court.

 

You must again tell the LAA of any changes to your financial circumstances during your case because a change may affect the amount you have to pay towards your defence costs.  If you do not think you can afford to pay, or you think a mistake has been made, you can ask for a review of the amount the LAA has told you to pay by again making a Hardship Application which we can help you with.

 

At the end of your case, if you are found Not Guilty then any payments you have made will be refunded with interest.  If you paid late or not at all and action was taken against you, the costs of that action will be deducted from the refund.

 

If you are found Guilty, you may have to pay towards your defence costs from any capital assets you may have.  This would only apply if:

 

  • you have £30,000 or more of assets, for example savings, equity in property, shares or Premium Bonds; and
  • any payments you have already made have not covered your total defence costs.

 

You will be told at the end of your case if you have to make a payment from capital and defence costs can vary from £300 to £2,000 and beyond.

 

Please be aware however that if your case proceeds to the Crown Court purely for sentence, or because you wish to Appeal a conviction or sentence found or imposed at the Magistrates’ Court, you will only be entitled to Legal Aid representation by this firm in the Crown Court if you are entitled to Legal Aid in the Magistrates’ Court.  A Solicitor-Advocate or Barrister can however seek a Representation Order to represent you in Crown Court Breach Proceedings.

 

In addition, if you Appeal against a Magistrates’ Court conviction or sentence and lose having had the benefit of Legal Aid, you will have to pay a defence costs order of either £500 or £250 in addition to any prosecution costs order.

 

If you have an annual disposable income of £37,500.00 or more you will not be financially eligible for a Representation Order and you will need to pay privately.  You will however still need to complete an application for Legal Aid and have that application rejected before you can recover any private costs in the Crown Court.

 

Prison Law

 

Please note that from 1st April 2017, this firm ceased to undertake publicly funded Prison Law work but can still provide you with assistance in that area as privately funded.

 

Our Private Client Fees

 

We have a duty to explore your eligibility for Legal Aid funding.  However, some cases such as simple motoring offences do not attract Legal Aid and some people because of their means are not eligible for Legal Aid.  Alternatively, you may wish to fund your defence privately whether you are eligible for Legal Aid or not.

 

In accordance with the SRA Transparency Rules, we now provide the following general information regarding our private client fees and specific information concerning any fixed fee quote for a motoring offence to be met by a Guilty plea.

 

Private Client Fees

 

In the event that you are not eligible for Legal Aid we will be happy to represent you as a private client based on the below Schedule of Charges. We would estimate that the costs would be in the region of, £1000 to £5000, plus VAT subject to the nature of your case.

 

At the outset, we will require an initial payment on account of £500 plus VAT (£600) unless otherwise agreed with you.  Due to money laundering rules this firm can only accept cash payments from clients up to the sum of £1,000.00 at any one time. We are afraid that if a greater sum of money is requested from you then payment must be made in some way other than cash. If you require any further explanation in this regard then please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Should you be found Not Guilty at the conclusion of proceedings or the proceedings are discontinued against you, we can apply to the Court for a Defendant’s Costs Order (DCO) and when received, will seek re-imbursement of your legal costs from an organization called the National Taxing Team (NTT) out of Central Funds. However Schedule 7 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act now provides that all cases that commence in the Magistrates’ Court or are committed or transferred to the Crown Court for trial on or after 1st October 2012 will see DCO limited.

 

These limitations are as follows:

 

  1. DCO to include legal costs can still be made following an acquittal or discontinuance of proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court but are limited to be paid at Legal Aid rates, which are currently and locally:
    • Attendance & preparation – £45.35 per hour
    • Advocacy (including applications for bail and other applications to the court) – £56.89 per hour
    • Travelling and waiting – £24.00 per hour
    • Routine letters written and routine telephone calls – £3.56 per item

 

This means that you are likely to only recover approximately 25% of your privately paidcosts.

 

  1. DCO to include legal costs can only be made following an upheld Appeal against conviction and/or sentence from the Magistrates’ Court.

 

  1. DCO for individual defendants are no longer allowed in cases tried on Indictment in the Crown Court unless you have not been deemed financially eligible for a Representation Order.  Those in receipt of an annual disposable income of £37,500.00 per annum or more will not be deemed financially eligible but would be entitled to apply for a DCO upon acquittal based upon Legal Aid rates only.

 

  1. Companies can no longer apply for a DCO in any proceedings other than in certain circumstances before the Supreme Court.

 

  1. DCO are still available in certain proceedings before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court but you will be given separate advice in this regard in the event this applies to your case.

 

We preserve the right to bill private fees on an interim bill basis where for any reason whatsoever your case is of a prolonged nature.  Please note again that we shall exercise our right to retain papers relating to your matter while our fees remain unpaid and that for assisting you in recovering any legal costs, there may be an additional charge of £50 plus VAT.

 

Schedule of Charges

 

All charges are exclusive of VAT.

 

Hourly rates

 

This rate applies to interviews, time spent in consideration of documents sent to us, preparation of documents by us, appearance at Court, travelling and waiting times spent in connection with your case.  Different rates apply dependent upon the experience and both the level of qualification and position of the relevant Fee Earner:

 

(A) £215.00 (Director or Solicitor Advocate)

(B) £192.00 (Senior Solicitor/Executive)

(C) £161.00 (Solicitor)

(D) £110.00 (Trainee/Paralegal)

 

Fixed Fees – Guilty Pleas

 

Where possible we will quote a fixed fee for Magistrates’ Court work and for Guilty Pleas our minimum fee will be £500.00 plus VAT (£600).

 

That fee will be greater if the proceedings are to take place out of the area.  The cost of travel, disbursements and expert or medical reports will be additional.

 

For specific information concerning any fixed fee quote for a motoring offence to be met by a guilty plea, please see below.

 

Not Guilty Pleas

 

We will quote an estimated fee for Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court work based upon the hourly rates quoted above.  However the fee quoted may be subject to change depending on the length and complexity of the proceedings.  The cost of expert or medical reports will be additional.  You will be consulted before any increase to the fee is made.

 

We also reserve the right to charge an uplift at the conclusion of the proceedings on preparation, attendance and advocacy if particular care, expedition or due diligence is evident.

 

Additional Costs

 

Telephone Calls – each telephone call made or received lasting up to six minutes:

 

  • £15.00

 

Longer calls charged on a time recording basis.

 

Letters and E-mails – each letter or e-mail written by us where the time spent is up to six minutes:

 

  • £15.00

 

Longer letters or e-mails charged on a time recording basis.

 

Letters received:

 

  • £10.00

 

Photocopies & Disbursements

 

  • £0.35 per sheet
  • Mileage @ 45p per mile, other disbursements as receipted

 

Any bill that we render to you, you have the right to object to that bill and apply for the assessment of that bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act.

 

Fixed fee quote – motoring offence (Guilty plea)

The minimum fee of £500 plus VAT (£600) will include:

  • Up to 2 hours attendance/preparation considering evidence, taking your instructions and providing advice on likely sentence to include advice on whether an exceptional hardship, or special reasons argument should be made; and
  • Attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court

The fee does not include:

  • instruction of any expert witnesses;
  • taking statements from any witnesses;
  • advice/assistance in relation to a special reasons hearing; or
  • advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.

The key stages of your matter are based on the presumption that you have or will enter a Guilty plea and have a date for your hearing.  They are:

  • You will meet with your solicitor to provide instructions on what happened.
  • We will consider initial disclosure, and any other evidence and provide advice. Arranging to take any witness statements if necessary.  This will have an additional cost, £100 plus VAT (£120). We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court.
  • We will conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.
  • We cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day.
  • We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court for less than half a day.
  • We will discuss the outcome with you. If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost.

The qualifications of our current Fee Earners are detailed above.  In terms of supervision:

 

  • the Directors supervise each other and all other Fee Earners; but
  • Carly Dennis and Carly Pharoah are also qualified supervisors and Ciara Bruin is training to become supervisors.

We have no standing terms for regular clients.

 

Financial Orders

 

We would advise you that if you are unfortunately convicted of any charge before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court then that court is entitled to order you to pay a contribution toward the costs of the prosecution together with any financial penalty and compensation, as appropriate.

We would stress to you that if you are in receipt of a Representation Order that this would not pay those financial orders, you would be liable.

 

The court when making any financial orders will of course take into account your means but we would advise you that any financial orders are likely to be greater if you do not plead guilty at the first opportunity.

 

Victim Surcharge

 

In addition, and as of 1st October 2012, a court must impose a Victim Surcharge or ‘tax’. The provisions are set out in the following table but please note that different rules and amounts may apply depending upon the date of offence, your age or whether a company is convicted of a criminal offence.  Please note that the current rates below apply to all offences committed on or after 28th June 2019:

 

Sentence Adults (18+) Youth (under 18 at the time of offence) Organisations
Conditional Discharge £21 £16 £21
Fine 10% of fine value, min £32 max £181 £21 10% of fine value, min £32 max £181
Community Order £90 £21  
Suspended Sentence of imprisonment (6 months or less) £122 £32  
Suspended Sentence of imprisonment (over 6 months) £149 £32  
Immediate custodial sentence (6 months or less) £122 £32  
Immediate custodial sentence (more than 6 months – up to and including 2 years) £149 £32  
Immediate custodial sentence (over 2 years – life) £181 £32  
Youth Rehabilitation Order or Referral Order   £21  

 

You will be advised separately as to the rates of the Victim Surcharge that apply for offences committed before 28th June 2019.

 

In terms of the collection of any financial orders, this is dealt with locally by the Fines Office of Essex Magistrates’ Courts and financial orders are payable immediately or dealt with by way of a Collection Order. You should be aware that the court will supply to you documentation concerning the meaning of a Collection Order but of course this firm will be pleased to assist with any queries you may have.

 

The telephone number of the local fines office is 01245 313300, option 1.

 

Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Rules

 

We will advise you of the elements of any offence relevant to your case and will also explain the strength of the evidence, what arguments need to be raised on your behalf and the likely consequences to you in your case.

 

We will also explain the procedure at a police station, court and on appeal, as relevant to your case.

 

Please however be aware that the procedure at court is governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules.  These can be found at the Ministry of Justice Website:

 

www.justice.gov.uk

 

If you do not have access to the internet, we can refer you to the aspects of the Rules that are relevant to your case but you need to be aware that you have certain duties under the Rules if you are a defendant in a case before the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court or any other criminal court.

 

You have duties to notify the court through us of what the real issues in your case are and to provide us with full instructions so we can comply on your behalf with directions made by the court to forward your case.

 

You also need to identify to us any witnesses you intend to rely upon and by law, the names, addresses and dates of birth of those witnesses need to be disclosed to the court and prosecution.

 

If you do not comply with those and other duties, under the Criminal Procedure Rules we have a duty to report your non-compliance to the court.  The sanctions the court can impose include an order to pay wasted costs, a criticism of you at trial and an order preventing you from relying upon certain evidence.

 

Please therefore co-operate with this firm in the preparation of your case.

 

In particular, if you are on bail, intend to plead Not Guilty and your case is to be tried in the Magistrates’ Court, you will need to provide us with your detailed instructions within the 5 days prior to your first hearing at Court.  Under a scheme called Transforming Summary Justice, the Court will expect all issues and legal argument to be resolved at your first hearing which may take up to 30 minutes.  Without your detailed instructions, we will not be able to effectively argue your case at the first hearing.

 

In the same way, if your case is sent to a Crown Court for trial, you will appear before the Crown Court within 28 – 35 days of your first appearance at the Magistrates’ Court for what is now called a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing.  At that hearing, your trial date will be fixed and other legal issues resolved so you will need to again, provide us with your detailed instructions within that 28 – 35 day period.  Under a scheme called Better Case Management, the process at the Crown Court will now be quicker than previously and you will need to keep in touch with us so we can advise you of the exact date you will appear at court for your Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing.

 

We also need to inform the court if you plead Not Guilty that we have provided you with advice concerning Credit and Proof in Absence and now detail that advice below:

 

Credit

 

When you are charged with an offence, you will be asked to indicate whether you are Guilty or Not Guilty at the first court hearing in your case.

 

If you plead Not Guilty and later lose your trial, you will receive a greater punishment than if you had pleaded Guilty.

 

The sooner you plead Guilty, the greater discount you receive in terms of your punishment.  This discount is called Credit.

 

It follows that if you are Guilty of an offence that can be proved against you, then you should plead Guilty at the first hearing to receive the most credit. However, you should not plead Guilty to an offence you have not committed.

 

Proof in Absence/Sentence in Absence

 

If you are to stand trial and without good reason fail to attend court on the day of your trial then the case can go ahead without you.  This is known as Proof in Absence.

 

It is in your interests to attend court on the day of your trial as your defence will be harmed by the case going ahead without you and in particular you will not be present to give evidence and put your side of the story forward.

 

Please also be aware that if you fail to attend court without good reason having pleaded Guilty or having been found Guilty, you can now be sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court without you being present in court.  This can include to imprisonment and disqualification from driving.  This is known as Sentence in Absence.

 

It is clearly in your interests to attend court to be sentenced so that mitigation can be entered on your behalf and you are aware of the outcome.

SRA Handbook

 

This firm is authorised and regulated by the SRA and abides by the Handbook in force from 25th November 2019. Our SRA number is 564338.

 

Details about the SRA can be found at their Website www.sra.org.uk

 

If you do not have access to the internet, we can explain the role of the SRA, how they may be contacted and aspects of the Handbook that are relevant to you.

 

Any breach of the Handbook may result in disciplinary action taken against either the firm or the solicitor responsible and please be aware it is a potential breach for a solicitor to fail to comply with a court order.

 

We are however not a party to criminal proceedings.  If you are being prosecuted before a court, the parties are the prosecution and yourself.  Directions made by the court are for you to comply with and we will of course assist you in that regard.

 

That said, we need your co-operation in the preparation of your case and again, must report you to the court if you do not comply with us so that we do not fail to comply with a court order and breach the Handbook.

 

Complaints

 

We are committed to high-quality legal advice and client care.  If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about a bill, please contact the Fee Earner responsible for your case.  If your issue still cannot be resolved, please then contact our Client Care Director, Mark Pearson by telephone on 01268 820111, by email at mp@jsp.legal or by post to our Benfleet office.

 

We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which may be found below.  We have 8 weeks to consider your complaint.  If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

 

Complaints Procedure

 

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 3 days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.

 

  1. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our Client Care Director, Mark Pearson who will review your case file and speak to the Fee Earner who acted for you.

 

  1. Mark Pearson will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

 

  1. Within 3 days of the meeting, Mark Pearson will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.

 

  1. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Mark Pearson will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

 

  1. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another Director to review the decision.

 

  1. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

 

If you are still not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint.

 

The Legal Ombudsman is an independent complaints body established under the Legal Services Act 2007 that deals with legal services complaints.

 

The Legal Ombudsman may be contacted about your complaint in the following ways:

 

By post:                Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton,      WV1 9WJ

By telephone:       0300 555 0333 (calls charged at a local rate)

 

By email:               enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

 

Website:                www.legalombudsman.org.uk

 

Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside this period, within 3 years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).

You have the right to challenge, or complain about, a bill to include applying for assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act.

 

Please be aware that whilst any client has the right to make complaint about either the services of this firm or a bill to us, most businesses (unless a micro enterprise), charities and clubs with an annual income of more than £1m and trustees of a trust with asset value of more than £1m do not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

 

Alternative complaints bodies such as Small Claims Mediation (UK) Ltd exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.  We agree to use Small Claims Mediation (UK) Ltd and information about that body may be found at www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk.

 

Other Information

 

We are required to provide you with the following additional information that you may find useful:

 

VAT

 

Our registration number is: 795 6975 45

 

 

Professional Indemnity Insurance

 

We comply with the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 by displaying the required details of our Professional Indemnity Insurance in each of our offices.

 

Our Insurer is International Insurance Company of Hannover PLC who may be contacted at:

 

10 Fenchurch Street

London

EC3M 3BE

Tel: 0207 015 4000

 

Our territorial coverage is worldwide.

 

LLP Partnership

 

Our LLP Partnership number is: OC364537.

 

 

 

Contact Details

 

Our contact details are as follows or via our Website, www.jsp.legal

 

 

Benfleet

 

Specialist House

679 High Road

Benfleet

Essex SS7 5SF

 

Tel 01268 820111

 

Braintree

 

Unit 10, First Floor (Front)

Freeport Office Village

Century Drive

Braintree

Essex CM77 8YG

 

Tel 01376 329457

 

Southend on Sea – by appointment only

 

4A Southchurch Road

Southend on Sea

Essex SS1 2NE

 

You may however also contact us via inbox@jsp.legal

 

Client Survey

 

Particularly at the conclusion of your case, please take the time to complete our survey via our website at https://jsp.legal/contact-us/

 

We strive to always improve our service and your views are important to us and will help us in the future.

 

Declaration

 

Please sign and date the declaration below and return it to us indicating you accept our terms and conditions.  We will not be able to undertake any further work on your behalf until we are placed in funds and have received your signed declaration.

 

‘I agree to abide by the terms and conditions outlined in this booklet and wish to instruct JSP Solicitors to act on my behalf.

 

In the event of an application for my costs to be refunded by the Court, I hereby grant authority to JSP Solicitors to make that application and receive payment on my behalf. I understand that JSP Solicitors will then reimburse me any money owed to me’.

 

PRINT NAME                _________________________________

 

 

Signed:                        _________________________________

 

 

Dated:                         _________________________________

 

Diversity Monitoring

 

Whilst there is no obligation on you to do so, we should also be grateful if you would consider completing this Diversity Monitoring Form and again returning that document to us.

 

Personal information in this regard will be held about you anonymously and in the strictest of confidence but as an equal opportunities legal services provider, this Firm always seeks to ensure that appropriate advice is provided to all.

 

Gender Monitoring

 

Do you consider yourself to be (circle):

 

Male            Female        Transsexual

 

Age Monitoring

 

Are you (circle):

 

U/18           18-30           30-45          45-60               60-70          70 +

 

Ethnic Monitoring

 

Do you consider yourself to be (circle)

 

White          Mixed          Asian           Black          Chinese       Other

 

 

Disability Monitoring

 

Do you consider yourself to be (circle):

 

Disabled               Not disabled

 

If you are disabled, what is your disability (complete here):

 

 

Faith Monitoring

 

Do you consider yourself to be (circle):

 

Christian    Jewish        Muslim          Hindu         Buddhist     Other

 

Sexuality Monitoring

 

Do you consider yourself to be (circle):

 

Heterosexual                  Homosexual                   Bi-Sexual    Other

 

Diversity Monitoring

 

Has anyone at this firm discriminated against you for reason of your gender, age ethnicity, disability, faith or sexuality (circle):

 

YES/NO.

 

If YES, this firm treats seriously any complaint of discrimination.  Please provide details below of your complaint and they will be investigated immediately by our Client Care Director, Mark Pearson:

 

 

Opt Out

 

I do not wish to answer any of the above questions but have not been discriminated against by anyone at this firm (circle):

 

YES/NO

 

Thank you for your assistance, this Firm needs to ensure that it is at all times complying with all legislation relevant to equality and diversity and we appreciate your help.

 

 

Offering a personal service

For expert advice on our services please get in touch with us.