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Criminal Legal Aid worked example

In order to illustrate how a person may receive free legal advice which is funded by Criminal Legal Aid, an example of a fictional person (Mr Green) being charged with an offence is included below.

Mr Green's journey through the Criminal Justice Scheme is broken down step-by-step, beginning with his arrest on suspicion of burglary and ending with him going to prison. In reality, there are other potential outcomes (e.g. the burglary charges could be dropped or Mr Green could be found not guilty). The example below is for illustrative purposes only.

  • Mr Green is arrested on suspicion of burglary and is taken to the Custody Suite at Police Headquarters in Douglas
  • Mr Green is booked into the Custody Suite by the Custody Officer
  • The Custody Officer advises Mr Green that he has the right to free and independent legal advice from a Police Station Duty Advocate either by telephone or in person. The Police Station Duty Advocate service is funded by Criminal Legal Aid
  • Mr Green asks to see an Advocate in person. The Custody Officer contacts the Advocate who is on the Police Station Duty Advocate rota. The Police Station Duty Advocate rota covers 24 hours per day, 7 days a week and the rota is supplied by the IoM Law Society
  • The Police Station Duty Advocate attends the Police Station, and speaks to Mr Green in private. Mr Green is then interviewed by the Police with the Police Station Duty Advocate present

1

  • Following interview, the Police charge Mr Green with burglary and he is released on bail
  • Mr Green is sent details of the time and date of his Court hearing in the Deputy High Bailiff's Court (his case could also be heard in the Magistrate's Court). These Courts are also referred to as Summary Courts
  • At every sitting of the Deputy High Bailiff's Court (and the Magistrate's Court) there is a Court Duty Advocate available who can assist, advise and represent an individual at their first Court hearing. The Court Duty Advocate service is funded by Criminal Legal Aid
  • Mr Green arrives at Court on the date of his first hearing and speaks to the Court Duty Advocate. The Court Duty Advocate represents Mr Green in Court on that day
  • Mr Green enters a plea of 'not guilty' and the Court decides that a Summary trial in the Deputy High Bailiff's Court will be suitable for the case. The matter is adjourned to a trial date

2

  • As Mr Green's case will be going to trial, the Court Duty Advocate advises him that an application for Criminal Legal Aid should be made, as Mr Green's case will be eligible
  • The Court Duty Advocate assists Mr Green accordingly and the necessary paperwork is completed. Mr Green is advised that he can ask the Court Duty Advocate to continue to represent him, or he can nominate a different Defence Advocate who undertakes Criminal Legal Aid work. A 'Legal Aid Panel' of Advocates lists all Advocates who are prepared to act for a person under the Legal Aid Scheme
  • Mr Green decides to nominate another Defence Advocate who has represented him on previous occasions, and is on the Legal Aid Panel
  • The Court reviews the Criminal Legal Aid application on the same day and grants a Criminal Legal Aid Certificate, subject to Mr Green providing written confirmation of his qualifying benefits and income within 2 weeks. The case is then adjourned for 2 weeks
  • During the adjournment, Mr Green provides details of his qualifying benefits and income to his nominated Defence Advocate who, in turn, provides them to the Court
  • On receipt of Mr Green's benefits and income details, the Court issues a Criminal Legal Aid Certificate. This Certificate authorises the Defence Advocate to carry out legal work on Mr Green's behalf and receive payment for it

3

  • Mr Green's case goes to trial and he is represented in Court by his Defence Advocate who is funded by Criminal Legal Aid
  • A Prosecution Advocate from the Attorney General's Chambers presents the case against Mr Green
  • Based on the evidence heard at the trial, the jury finds Mr Green guilty of burglary
  • Mr Green is remanded in custody until he appears for sentencing at a later date
  • Mr Green appears at Court for sentencing and is given a custodial sentence of 12 months by the Deputy High Bailiff. Mr Green is transferred to Jurby Prison to serve his sentence

Figure 1. Categories of people & agencies in the Criminal Justice System following Mr Green's arrest as detailed in the example above

Wheel

Explanatory notes for Figure 1.

CategoryNotes
Mr Green arrested For the purpose of this example, Mr Green is the person arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, and subsequently charged
Police Responsible for arresting, detaining, investigating, & charging Mr Green. Also responsible for contacting a Police Station Duty Advocate on behalf of Mr Green.
Police Station Duty Advocate An Advocate who is available to provide telephone advice or attend a Police Station to give advice & assistance to Mr Green who has been detained. The Police Station Duty Advocate rota covers 24h per day, 7 days a week. Legal advice & assistance from a Police Station Duty Advocate is free to everyone. All legal fees are paid for by Legal Aid – there are no means or merits tests.
Judiciary & Courts Judges (e.g. High Bailiff; Deputy High Bailiff) and the judiciary as a whole are impartial and independent of the IoM Government. Defendants appear in Court(s) subject to the progression of their case (e.g. entering a plea; for a committal hearing; for sentencing).
Court Duty Advocate An Advocate who is available at the Courts of Justice who can advise and represent Mr Green before and during his first Court hearing. Legal advice and assistance from a Court Duty Advocate is free to everyone. All legal fees are paid for by Legal Aid - there are no means or merits tests.
Defence Advocate An Advocate on the Legal Aid Panel who is appointed by Mr Green to represent him in Court after his first hearing. The authority for the Advocate to provide legal advice, assistance and representation to Mr Green, and receive payment for these services, comes from the Criminal Legal Aid Certificate. Legal services from a Defence Advocate are free, subject to an individual meeting the financial means test and their case meeting the legal merits tests. Subject to meeting the criteria in full, all legal fees are paid for by Legal Aid.
Prosecution Advocate An Advocate from the Attorney General's Chambers who, on behalf of HM Attorney General, is prosecuting the defendant in Court.
Prison & Probation A service which provides secure custodial services and effective community supervision services.
Legal Aid Committee A Committee established under the Legal Aid Act 1986. Its responsibilities include determining Legal Aid policy and overseeing the administration of Legal Aid.
IoM Law Society The regulatory and professional body of Manx Advocates which maintains and distributes Duty Advocate Rotas for the Police Station and Courts of Justice.
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