|It is essential for all police station representatives to keep up to date with the law. However, we are not the best or most comprehensive legal resource on the web and nor do we aim to be. Below are a few cases and bits of legal information that we think all reps should have at their fingertips. Feel free to mail us with any cases you think are essential reading. |
|CHECK OUT OUR WIKI FOR MORE LAW: Our Wiki Pages are a more comprehensive source of legal information. We will only put issues here that are essential for all reps. The really important stuff is still here. But for a wider range of topics please take a look at the Wiki pages. If you would like to contribute or edit a wiki page do please let us know and we will provide you with a login.|
Taking Offences Into Consideration is normally refereed to by the acronym TIC.
Not all crimes can be proven. A client may be asked to admit offences which he has not been prosecuted for. Such crimes may well be known to the police but are unresolved. The police may suspect the client is responsible but are not in a position to prove it. A suspect may be asked to admit these offences. The courts will take such admissions into consideration when sentencing. The police will often emphasise that a court will look favourably on a defendant who resolves a number of outstanding crimes by such an admission.
As a general rule there is nothing preventing an offender who is denying involvement or pleading not guilty to ask for offences to be taken into consideration, however, in practice it is unlikely.
After admissions are made normally a list containing all of the offences is prepared by the police. Then the offender has the opportunity to inspect and sign it in affirmation.
At the trial after the offender has pleaded guilty to the offences appearing on the indictment, the prosecution take the judge through the facts before sentencing. It is then that the judge is told about the existence of the TICs. The judge will always seek confirmation from the defendant personally and not through counsel before sentencing him and upon such will nearly always comply with that request. If the offender has changed his mind by that point about the offences, his wishes are again to be respected.
Normally TICs will be offences of similar nature to the ones already appearing on the indictment. It is nevertheless possible to ask for consideration of a different type of offences, however, there is no guarantee that the judge will agree to take any such into account. In any event a mere agreement by the prosecution and defence about a list of such offences is not binding upon the court.
Furthermore, a charge should not be taken into consideration where the court is of the view that the public interest requires it to be subject of a separate trial.
In addition, the court should not take into consideration an offence which it is not empowered to try. For example, the Crown Court has no jurisdiction hearing or taking into consideration summary offences. Further, an offence is not to be taken into consideration if it is one where the court is required to disqualify the offender from driving or endorse his driving licence in the event of conviction. The restriction exists since those steps will not be available if the offence is taken into consideration.
The consequences are twofold. Firstly, the suspect will not be prosecuted for each individual offence. In fact, only the original offence or offences for which he was being questioned will appear on the indictment when he is being tried. Any other offences to which he has acknowledged responsibility will be listed for the judge’s consideration on sentencing.
As such it will only have an impact in increasing the sentence to an extent. However, the sentence will still remain significantly lower than if he had been charged and convicted of each offence separately. In passing sentence where there are TICs, the court may impose a maximum sentence of the total maximum for the offences of which the offender has been convicted. Therefore, for example, when a person is charged with two offences of theft the maximum sentence he can receive will be 14 years (7 years each) irrespective of the number of TICs. This is another element to be considered by the judge before deciding whether to take the offences into consideration or not.
Secondly, in practice he will not in future be prosecuted for the TICs. However, it is important to emphasise that TICs do not have a statutory foundation and exist on the basis of practice. As such there is generally nothing to stop the police from investigating into those admitted offences and charging the person separately after they have been taken into consideration. The situation is possible since TICs are not convictions as such and therefore, the rule against double jeopardy cannot come into effect and protect the offender. Nevertheless, in practice such outcome is highly unlikely as it would defeat the object of creating the trust between the police and the offender.
When assessing the impact of the TICs on the sentence to be passed, the court is likely to attach weight to the fact that the offender has assisted the police and helped clear up offences which might otherwise not have been brought to justice. The court is generally to have regard to the context of all offences when determining their effect on the sentence.
The benefit for the offender of asking for other offences to be taken into consideration is that it eliminates the risk of him later being prosecuted and convicted of those offences individually. Therefore, it protects from the full sentence for the individual offences while at the same time the increase in sentence he is to receive is not likely to be significant.
It is our view that there is very little reason to admit to TICs. In effect admitting offences which cannot be proved will only increase a sentence handed down by the court. The sentence will remain significantly lower than if he had been charged and convicted of each offence separately of course but we are talking about offences that by and large the police cannot prove.
There are some very rare situations where admitting TICs does make sense. A client who is going to totally and permanently change their lifestyle may well decide to clear the slate. Its rare but it does happen.
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I our view all reps should carry a recognised ID card. The issue first arose at Lewisham some years ago after a member of the public gained access to a client simply by claiming to be a rep. All reps should carry a card as it is simply practical to do so.However it is not mandatory for all police station work.
PACE (February 2017 revision) only says the police under Code C 6.12 that the police officer should be of a rank of Superintendent or above to exclude a rep. They should check the rep against the LAA list. The LAA list is not up to date of course so its a bit daft. The only reason for exclusion at 16.12A is hindering the investigation.Moreover under 6.13 the Superintendent should take into account whether the identity and status of an accredited or probationary representative have been satisfactorily established.
It is a common misconception that DSCC have a role in the identification of solicitors and reps. Not all reps will have a listing on the DSCC. The correct list is maintained by the LAA.
The General Criminal contract (6.63) does stipulate the need for an ID card. It basically says reps covering duty cases should have ID cards. The contract also (9.46) says that ID cards are required where there are local instructions in place. Presumably the cards are not needed for own client matters or where there are no local instructions.6.63 You must ensure that all staff undertaking Police Station Duty Solicitor work carry an identification card as specified by us for production when attending Police Stations.9.46 Where required by local instructions, all staff undertaking Police Station Duty Solicitor work must carry an identification card as specified by us for production when attending Police Stations.
In summary reps do not always need ID. But that's just me being a pedantic lawyer! We still advise reps to carry ID. Its just sensible when custody decide to be daft.PROCESS
1. First off you need to find a Supervising Solicitor. Your supervising solicitor needs to sign a form (see below) confirming that they are acting as your supervising solicitor and that you are a suitable person. The attached form was the one used during the Validation Exercise from a few years agoso it is not up to date but it should get you started at least. If you find a copy of the correct form do please send me a copy.
To be a Supervising Solicitor you must be employed by a holder of the General Criminal Contract and be a current police station duty solicitor or alternatively a solicitor who is acceptable as meeting the Crime Category Supervisor Standard.
The supervising Solicitor signs the certificate of fitness declaring that to the best of their knowledge the rep is of suitable character to provide legal advice at police stations.
In determining this, the supervisor should consider any criminal convictions and read the relevant guidance produced by the Criminal Law Committee of The Law Society and make a professional judgement as to whether the individual is of suitable character to provide advice and assistance at police stations.
A candidate with a criminal record is unlikely to be suitable unless the conviction was for a minor offence and is not of recent date e.g. speeding. A serving police officer, a special constable or an individual who is employed in any other capacity that may cause a conflict of interest when undertaking criminal defence service work is not eligible to become a representative.
2. The application form must be submitted to the PSRS and will need to be signed by your supervisor. The form is below
The form should be sent to:
Police Station Representative Service (PSRS)
Sheffield S97 3FS
Tel: 08457 500 620
The list is maintained by Miss Freddi Linford
3. You should of course check that you are on the list. We often find errors and omissions on the list. Any amendments can be requested by sending an email to:
4. Its also worth noting that to remain an accredited rep you need to keep the Police Station Representative Service (PSRS) up to date at all times. You must advise the PSRS when:
Your or your employer's address changes or
Your Supervising Solicitor changes
5. You must of course also do the minimum police station attendances per year and at least the minimum CPD hours per year.
6. Finally apply for the ID card. Two organisations issue cards:
a. The Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) card cost is £25 for CLSA members and £35 for non members. The cards need to be renewed annually. The form is below or click the link www.clsa.co.uk/index.php?q=idcard
b. The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) are renewed annually. The cost of the card is included in the annual membership subscription or for non-members, an annual fee of £36 is charged. The form is below or click the link www.lccsa.org.uk/id-card
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New Bail Arrangements (Policing and Crime Act 2017) come into force on April 1st 2017 but are being rolled out earlier by some forces.
The aim of the new bail rules is to put fewer people on bail and for a shorter period.
Clients are often left languishing on bail for months or even years before charge.
The intention is to improve decision making and reduce distress and injustice for individuals placed on bail.
- Applies to Pre-Charge Bail only
- Presumption of no bail unless it is necessary and proportionate
- Bail needs to be authorised by an inspector or above
- 28 day maximum
- Extendable up to three months where authorised by a superintendent
- More than three months with judicial authorisation. A decision by a single justice of the peace on the papers will suffice.
- In exceptionally complex cases it will be possible to extend bail administratively to a total of six months before seeking judicial authorisation.
- Legal representatives must be informed and all representations must be considered.
- Bail Conditions can still be imposed
- CPS or Police must inform clients promptly in writing when a case is concluded.
In summary you need to be aware that most clients will now not be bailed while an investigation continues. In effect where the police know a clients address they will simply ask them to attend a police station for charge or further interview rather than giving a specific bail date.Its worth noting that the police can arrest a client in order to charge them. But a further interview without new evidence would be problematic.
Where bail is granted, conditions may still be imposed, but they must be necessary and proportionate.
If the conditions are breached clients can still be arrested, although the breach will not in itself be an offence.
The CPS and Police will have a duty of Notification of Decision. A failure on their part notify the client when a decision
has been made to conclude the investigation and not to prosecute has led to distress and injustice.
The existing statutory duty has been strengthened, and the notification must be made promptly and in writing.
Cases will as ever not proceed if there is insufficient evidence and no realistic prospect of conviction and public interest must
always be taken into account where appropriate.
Read More: Solicitors JournalKingsley NapleyCriminal Law & Justice Weekly
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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has changed and you no longer need to get a certain number of points. Basically its now all self-assement. You have to review your strengths and weaknesses and then make a plan based on the training you think you need. Finally you keep a record of the development you undertook along with the reasons and its effectiveness. The SRA guidelines are below. Its all a bit wholly but its a pretty sensible approach.
SRA Competence Guidelines: sra competence
SRACompetence Toolkit: sra toolkit
Our Suggested Proformas are below. If you have a better one do please send it to us:
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CRM e14 and Legal Aid Forms
Legal Aid Applications now only require you to complete the e14. The CRM14 and 15 forms are no longer used.
You shoulde provide financial information for all clients. To apply for Legal Aid the firm need some basic financials for all clients. The bare minimum would include the following:
- Clients income (per week)
- Income Source (benefits or employment)
- Cohabiting partner name
- Client National Insurance Number
- Partner National Insurance Number
- All clients should sign the e14 CRM form
The financial information is needed by the firm to apply for Legal Aid. In effect we now sign one form and make a note of all the details that used to be captured on the CRM 14 and 15.
You can also do this on the No Comment App. If you are using an Android mobile device please download our app. The client provides a signature on your mobile phone. You only need add a few details and the e14 is done. You can also do your notes and the app contains all the custody suite telephone numbers along with a copy of PACE and much much more. Just go to the Google Play Store and search for No Comment.www.gov.uk/guidance/legal-aid-eformsCRM e14
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The things every rep needs to know about milage claims:
- Outside of office hours you can claim up to 45p for mileage. Mileage payments up to 40p are taxfree. Everything over 40p is taxable as income.
- Inside office hours Mileage is the distance from the instructing solicitors office to the venue or the actual mileage, whichever is the shortest. The expectation is that you will use public transport. You can still use you own car but payments are capped at 25p per mile. To claim 45p per mile you will need to show a justification. The Criminal Bills Assessment Manual gives the following reasons:
- Getting to the station within 45 minutes.
- Security & Confidentiality: sensitive material that you carry must be safe from interference or theft.
- Carrying large numer of bulky documents.
- No public transport available.
- Use of a private motor vehicle was otherwise reasonable
- The LAA are trying to crack down on inflated or spurious travel claims. They are being a bit nutty and are querying even very small claims. Invoices & receipts should always be produced in support of claims for travel expenses.
Under the contract, claims for for travel of up to £20 do not require receipts but even those are being queried so it is best to keep all reciepts with your notes.
Below is a copy of the Criminal Bills Assessment Manual which you will find a terrific and thrilling read. Take a look at s3.9 Travel and Waiting. There are three versions but they are all identical just in different formats. If you can't open one then try another. If you cannot open any of them or need them in a different format please feel free to get in touch:
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Occasionaly you will be asked to provide a s9 statement. Here is an example to use as a template. They are all identical but in different formats. If you can't open one then try another:
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Seeing Co-Defendants Before Interview
An interesting case that confirms that where you have two clients you should consult with them both before going to interview.
As we all know the police will often attempt to prevent you doing that. This case is a handy one to have in your bag. See both clients before going to interview!McDonagh v The Chief Constable of Leicestershire
The judgement in McDonagh v Leicestershire reaffirms the position that the police cannot interfere with a solicitor's prerogative to attend each of his clients whenever necessary to do so. The police cannot place a condition upon that right. They cannot insist that a co-accused must be interviewed before attending another client involved in the same investigation.
The police are often under the misapprehension that they can prevent us from attending a co-defendant first. So an office may say you cannot talk to Client B until they have interviewed Client A. This was never a police power. It might be helpful to keep this authority handy.
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Conflict of Interest Guidance
A rather good guide on conflicts of interest: here
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Handy Resource for Juveniles in Custody
This is a very handy site for information on juveniles in custody. When it comes to dealing with juveniles it is fair to say that we are generally not as clued up as we ought to be.This site is well worth a look: www.youthjusticematters.info/
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Drugs Extensions and X-RaysUnder the s152 of the Drugs Act 2005 there is provision for extended detention of suspected drug offenders.The police have the same powers as HM Customs. On application to a magistrates' court a detainee can beheld for up to 192 hours so that any swallowed items can be seized.
The police can also authorise the use of x-rays but this requires the consent of the detainee. Withholding consentmay lead to a negative inference being drawn.
Click here for a Handy Guide from Kent Police
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17yr Olds Need Appropriate AdultsThe High Court has found that the PACE provisions for juveniles should apply to those under the age of 18. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as anyone under 18. It would be sensibleto make the appropriate representations for any clients afffected.
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One of the best ways to keep up to date is to subscribe to the e-mail updates provided CrimeLine. The emails are written by Andrew Keogh. He now has over 12,000 subscribers including criminal lawyers, judges and academics. Each issue provides legal updates including the latest cases, legislation and news. Best of all its FREE!. Click here to sign up or point your browser at www.wikicrimeline.co.uk
. The CrimeLine CPD scheme is also well worth checking out.
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|MOBILE PHONES IN CUSTODY:|
ACPO have come to the conclusion that there is a presumption that solicitors hang on to their mobiles in custody. That does not mean that the custody sergeant has been over ruled. The sergeant can still refuse to let you keep your mobile but he does at least have to justify himself and explain his reasoning. Our opinion is that the rep is only in custody to assist the client. If the custody officer demands your mobile then you should hand it over. But if you want to argue the matter this is an essential document to keep in your brief case.
Read the full text here: ACPO Mobile Phones
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Everyone should carry a copy of this case, Richardson v Chief Constable West Midlands 2011. It makes plain that on a voluntary attendance the police cannot presume to arrest. They must consider a voluntary interview. PACE clearly states that the police need to establish the necessity for an arrest. Without a compelling reason there is unlikely to be such a necessity and voluntary attendances should be dealt with by way of a voluntary interview.
Its worth noting that this case was brought by one of our mebers, Dilaor Miah. The judge fell over himself to point out what a good job he had done for the client. Our job matters and we can make a big difference.
In Richardson v West Midlands Police 2011 a teacher was alleged to have assaulted a pupil and voluntarily attended two police stations. On his arrival at the second police station he was arrested by the investigating officer 'to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence.
The court found that the suspect had fully co-operated, and had attended the second police station knowing that he would be arrested and interviewed. There was no basis on which the investigating officer could have concluded that he might leave before the conclusion of the interview. The court held that the arrest had been unlawful.
It is not permissible to operate a blanket policy whereby everyone voluntarily attending a police station to be interviewed has to be arrested; instead, the decision whether or not to arrest must involve a consideration of the facts of the particular case; a conclusion that a suspect might leave before the conclusion of an interview must be based on evidence, taking into account the relevant circumstances, rather than on general propositions; where there is no such evidence, such a conclusion is not warranted and cannot be used to justify arrest; and if the arrest cannot be so justified, then in the absence of any other grounds justifying arrest it will be unlawful.
ARREST FIRST & QUESTION LATER
The High Court ruled that common practice of arresting voluntary attenders at police stations is unlawful unless there are clear reasons why the arrest is necessary. The Richardson case relates to a teacher who was arrested depite attending for a voluntary interview. The police have to establish that:
If they fail on either limb the arrest will be unlawful. If they establish both limbs the arrest can only be impugned on Wednesbury grounds. This means that the police will no longer be able to rely on pro forma phrases to justify the necessity for arrest, and it appears that in the majority of cases where a suspect attends at the police station by appointment the necessity for arrest will not be made out.
- the arresting officer subjectively believes they have proper grounds for believing that arrest was necessary, and
- that the grounds were objectively reasonable.
In Alexander Bull Farrelly and Fox  NIQB 2, the court held that, when carrying out a criminal investigation, every officer must consider if it is necessary to make an arrest and have regard to all relevant circumstances. There must be some evaluation of the feasibility of achieving the object of an arrest by alternative means. It does not require that there is no viable or practical alternative.
An officer who therefore arrests as a matter of course will be acting unlawfully and strong representations should be made.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 substitutes the powers of arrest found in section 24 and 25 of PACE and makes all classes of offence 'arrestable' if the 'necessity criteria' applies.
PACE CODE G
PACE Code G governs powers of arrest. The need for the code is to balance individual rights and the need for investigative powers by the police. The use of powers of ‘arrest must be fully justified’ and officers exercising the power should consider if the necessary objectives can be met by other, less intrusive means.
The exercise of arrest powers is subject to a test of necessity based around the nature and circumstances of the offence and the interests of the criminal justice system. Arrest must never be used simply because it can be used.
When the power of arrest is exercised it is essential that it is exercised in a non discriminatory and proportionate manner. Prior to making an arrest police Officers need to be satisfied that there are reaonable grounds and that the arrest is necesary s24(5). Code C 10.3 states that a person who is arrested must be informed as soon as practicable after their arrest of the fact of their arrest and the grounds for it. The Note for Guidance 10B clarifies that this means that the suspect must be informed of the nature of the suspected offence, when and where it was committed and the reasons why arrest is considered necessary.
- 1.1 This Code of Practice deals with statutory power of police to arrest persons suspected of involvement in a criminal offence.
- 1.2 The right to liberty is a key principle of the Human Rights Act 1998. The exercise of the power of arrest represents an obvious and significant interference with that right.
- 1.3 The use of the power must be fully justified and officers exercising the power should consider if the necessary objectives can be met by other, less intrusive means. Arrest must never be used simply because it can be used. Absence of justification for exercising the powers of arrest may lead to challenges should the case proceed to court.
In the case of Lord Hannigfield v Essex Police 2013 the judge says summary arrest was never going to have any impact on the prompt and effective investigation of Lord Hanningfield's council expenses. In his decision, Mr Justice Eady said he had considered whether the arrest was necessary 'to allow the prompt and effective investigation'.
'The prospect of Lord Hanningfield attempting to 'bully' any of the police officers visiting his home that morning does seem somewhat remote. It was further mooted that, unless he was arrested, Lord Hanningfield might seek to destroy or conceal evidence relating to his expenses. It seems that the officers were under the mistaken impression, for example, that he was still in possession of a council computer.' Mr Justice Eady said he felt the police officer concerned believed the arrest was necessary. But he said: 'I have come to the conclusion that the requirement of 'necessity' as laid down by Parliament has not, on any realistic interpretation of the word, been met.'
THE HAYES NECESSITY TEST
Hayes v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police 2011 established a two stage test to determine the validity of an arrest. The meaning of PACE s24(4)-(5) was also consdidered.
The case involved an action for false imprisonment. The claimant was alleged to have been a drug dealer who had intimidated a drug user on the street and had thereby committed a common assault. A police officer arranged to meet the claimant at a railway station and arrested him upon arrival, stating that the arrest was necessary in order to obtain his mobile telephone, to detain him for further questioning and to impose bail conditions upon his release. Subsequently, the complainant withdrew his complaint and the claimant was released by the custody officer. The court rejected the claimant’s argument that the arresting officer had to have considered and rejected every possible alternative to arrest.
The relevant consideration when deciding if an arrest is lawful is what was in the mind of the arresting officer. The arresting officer must subjectively believe that the arrest is necessary.
In addition, the arresting officer’s decision to arrest 'must be one which, objectively reviewed afterwards according to the information known to him at the time, is held to have been made on reasonable grounds'This does not mean that the arresting officer has to actively consider all possible courses of action – taking into account all relevant considerations and excluding all irrelevant considerations. However, the arresting officer should give at least a 'cursory consideration' to options other than arrest, but only because 'the officer who has given no thoughts to alternatives to arrest is exposed to the plain risk of being found by a court to have had, objectively, no reasonable grounds for his belief that arrest was necessary.'
By the same token, if an arresting officer fails to consider PACE Code G 1.3 ('officers exercising the power should consider if the necessary objectives can be met by other, less intrusive means') this does not automatically make the arrest decision unlawful. Such a failure merely acts as an indicator that the officer did not have objectively reasonable grounds for concluding that the arrest was indeed necessary.
The language of s24(4) provides a straightforward reasonableness test. If the Officer believes an arrest is necessary, clear reasons should be documented in the Pocket Book and on the Custody Record. Simply reciting 'Prompt and effective investigation' is insufficient, specific reasons must be identified.
When a person attends the police station voluntarily to be interviewed by arrangement, their arrest on arrival at the station prior to interview would only be justified if new information has come to light after the arrangements were made which indicates voluntary attendance has ceased to be a practical alternative, their arrest is necessary and it was not reasonably practicable for the person to be arrested before they attended at the station.
The powers of arrest do not enable officers to arrest all suspects in all circumstances.
The court laid down a two stage test for assessing the legality of an arrest in each case:
- Did the arresting officer actually believe that the arrest was necessary for an identified s.24(5) reason?
- If he did, was that belief objectively reasonable?
In applying this test, the relevant facts for considering the reasonableness of the officer’s belief are the facts known to that officer at the time of making the arrest: facts which, had he been aware of them, would have justified the arrest are not relevant.
UPDATED PACE GUIDANCE
The decisions in Richardson and Hayes prompted the Government to revise Code G and issue fresh guidance in order to ensure that the police comply with these guidelines. The following principles relating to the arrest of voluntary attendees emerge from that guidance:
- An officer intending to interview a suspect must consider whether voluntary attendance is a practical alternative to arrest, and, if it is, arrest will not be necessary
- When making arrangements for voluntary attendance, the officer should tell the suspect that his arrest will not be necessary if he attends a police station voluntarily to be interviewed
- When the suspect attends the police station voluntarily for interview, his arrest prior to interview will only be justified where new information has come to light since the interview arrangements were made which indicates that voluntary attendance has ceased to be a practical alternative, but it was not reasonably practicable to arrest him before he attended; and
- If a suspect decides to leave before the conclusion of an interview, the position can be reconsidered, but the possibility that he might decide to do so is not a valid reason for arresting him before the interview has started. This fresh guidance should now make it clear to the police that it is unacceptable to justify the arrest of a volunteer interviewee purely on the basis that the interviewee may leave the interview before its conclusion.
If you think about it nothing has changed. PACE always said it was unlawful to arrest someone who attended voluntarily. These cases merely clarify what we all had been arguing for years. The real question is what would amount to a sufficient, reasonable, necessity to arrest a volunteer? That is hard to say, but perhaps some new evidence turning up at the very last minute like DNA or fingerprints at the scene of a crime. Even then the defendant should really be asked to provide the evidential samples first rather than being arrested. It would have to be some new evidence that was pretty compelling.
The important lesson to take from all this is that if a client who attends voluntarily is subsequently arrested you should immediately make representations. Simply invite the custody officer to note your representations. No song an dance simply ask him to consider Richardson and Hayes. Ask custody for the reason for the arrest and then point out that a necessity has not been established. Clients can sue for wrongful arrest. Clients tend to be very happy when the police pay for a holiday in Florida!
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In order to claim two fixed fees, the rule of thumb is whether there are two distinct matters and two attendances. These cases are easily spotted if they would attract two LA orders or have two distinct police disposals. There is a great deal of confusion surrounding this issue. Hopefully, we can try to make the position clear.
You can claim two bills for one job but it is now much more difficult than ever. Most firms are simply not claiming second bills, which is a shame as they are entitled to them. Basically, you now need to attend on two
occasions to claim two bills unless there are two very obviously different matters being dealt with.THE CRIME LINE VIEW:
I am not wholly convinced by the Crime Line view on this but you can view it HERE
Under the current system the basic rule is that if the matter would attract two distinct legal aid certificates then the matter should attract two bills. Two bills can be claimed where there were two distinct disposals. Where one matter is bailed and the other charged that attracts two bills but only if the bail is attended by the rep. In order to attend the firm will need to justify its attendance. If one of the disposals is NFA or a caution then it is still treated as one matter. If a client is charged and then interviewed for further matters (whether that is as a post charge interview or a whole new matter) then that is also a new bill and two attendances would not be required. These rule are not uniformly applied across England & Wales.
THE NEW RULES:
The LSC guidance can be found here:
More than one Investigation
- 9.82 If a Client is subject to an Investigation for which a Police Station Telephone Advice Fixed Fee is claimable and a further Investigation(s) in relation to an arrest or warrant for breach of bail is commenced at the same time, you may make only one Claim for Police Station Telephone Advice in relation to all Investigations.
- 9.83 If you represent a Client at the Police Station, and that Client is under investigation for a number of different offences, the starting point is that you may only claim one Police Station Attendance Fixed Fee for that Investigation. You may claim more than one Fixed Fee in circumstances where your Client has genuinely separate legal problems requiring separate advice. A file note should set out your justification for this.
- 9.84 If a Client is bailed to return to a Police Station, that is a continuation of the same Investigation.
- 9.85 If a Client is charged with an offence, and bailed to return to the Police Station to be investigated for another offence, the attendance on that return date entitles you to claim another Fixed Fee.
- 9.86 If you advise more than one Client during the course of a single Investigation, one Police Station Attendance Fixed Fee may be claimed
You should also note:SUMMARY:
- 10.68 Where the proceedings involve more than one offence, the definition of Case consists of three independent elements or tests. One or more of the following three tests will need to be satisfied to determine whether a Claim for a single Standard Fee, or a whether two or more Standard Fees may be claimed. If the answer to any of one of these tests is "yes", then only one Standard Fee may be claimed:
(a) Are the charges or informations preferred or laid at the same time?
(b) Are the charges or informations founded on the same facts? The test here is whether the charges have a common factual origin.
(c) Are the charges or informations part of a series of offences? The test here is whether the offences exhibit some similar feature which would allow them to be described as a series of offences.
- 10.69 For the purposes of the definition of a series of offences, a breach of a community penalty or other court order must be treated as an offence. If the defendant is before the court for other reasons, then no separate Standard Fee payment will be made for breach proceedings, irrespective of whether there is any link between the breach proceedings and any other proceedings being heard at the same time. If breach proceedings are heard alone then they will attract a separate Standard Fee.
Two bills can still be claimed but generally only if there are two attendances. The second needs to be justified. Normally that justification would be that the client is vulnerable or you could not get the determination of the case in advance from the police.
A word of warning: although you may think a second bill is appropriate your instructing solicitor may not actually claim it even though they agree with you in principal. Much of a firm's billing is down to a firm's relationship with the LSC. In any event the firm has only 48 hours to obtain the second DSCC reference number so you should always talk to your instructing solicitor and get them on board first.
Hopefully that answers your question in a clear as mud sort of way!
If you need any more help please feel free to mail me with the details of the case.
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