AQA LAW: exam questions

In this essay I will be looking at the question below, which is: Colin is arrested and detained at a police station on suspicion of committing a serious violent offence which is triable either way. He has to consider obtaining legal assistance for his present situation and for court appearances a) Describe the different forms of legal advice and representation available to him. b) Briefly discuss how well the different forms of advice and representation will meet Colin's need.

a) Describe the different forms of legal advice and representation available to him. In the answer to the above question there are quite a few routes which Colin may need to take in order to defend himself. As Colin is actually detained at the police station he is unable to visit the Law Centre or the Citizens' Advice Bureaux himself; so he will need to consider the Legal Assistant System for example this would be A Duty Solicitor, The Free Representation Unit, Private Funding, Advice and Assistance and a Pro Bono.

In the case of Colin not being able to go to the Law Centre himself he would have been given a free solicitors' service, this service is easy accessible and aims to give free legal advice and sometimes representation although due to the nature of Colin's problem the Law Centre would not be ideal for Colin.

The next service Colin could get advice from is a Duty Solicitor this service comes under the Criminal Defence Service under section 13 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 which states that the commission shall fund such advice and assistance as it considers appropriate for individuals who are arrested or held in custody at a police station or other premises. One advantage with the Duty Solicitor schemes is that they can now give advice over the telephone instead of attending the police stations.

The next service is The Free Representation Unit as he would also need representation. In 1992 the Bar set up the free representation unit to help those who are ineligible for legal aid to present their case in court. So if Colin is unable to pay this system would be most helpful to him. The Representation System will be able to take care of the solicitor's fee in preparing Colin's defence before the case gets to court, it will cover his representation at court or even bail in Colin's case.

The system will also take care of a barrister as well. The next route that Colin could take is Public Funding, Colin could either get his own solicitor/Barrister to defend his case which could be very expensive as Colin would have to pay full fees or he could get a Conditional Free Agreement (no win – no fee) under section 58 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 where if the claimant wins he should be able to get most of the costs, if not at all back from the defendant, Colin's solicitor can ensure against costs of losing.

The next route is Pro Bono which is Latin for "for the public good," legal work performed by lawyers without pay to help people with legal problems and limited or no funds, or provide legal assistance to organizations involved in social causes such as environmental, consumer, minority, youth, battered women and education organizations and charities. b) Briefly discuss how well the different forms of advice and representation will meet Colin's need.

In the case of the above the different forms of advice and representation that will meet his needs is Advice and Assistance, this is a system which needs one hours work from a solicitor. It is more advocacy work where if the solicitor has applied for representation for his/her client and it has been refused. The legal System was charged in May 2004 where cases where the offender is on bail and is charged with a non- prisonable offence.

In Colin's case he has been accused with a trible either way offence which can be heard in either the Magistrates or Crown Court. Referring back to Private Funding if Colin does get funding from the Criminal Defence Service Fund this fund is not capped but demand led, this service is merit tested. Merit tested – the test on whether the defendant's cases merits public funding being spent is whether it is in the interests of justice to do so.