Criminal Defence: Serious and Complex Crime

Criminal Defense: Serious and Complex Crime

A member of the Very High-Cost Cases Panel (administered by the Complex Crime Unit of the Legal Services Commission), Abbey is one of a very limited number of law firms able to represent clients charged with serious and complex crimes.

Police Station

Abbey Solicitors can defend you in the event you are remanded in Police custody. We can provide guidance 24/7 and our Lawyers can be contacted at any time to ensure immediate expert legal advice when you need it. Our client portfolio ranges from the homeless to high-net-worth individuals. We place our clients’ best interests at the heart of everything we do, using our wealth of strategic experience to get the best result from the worst situations.

We can provide advice while you are under arrest at a police station and support and assistance during any criminal proceedings that might follow. You will have the benefit of being represented by a first-class defence team that has access to highly qualified experts. We will be meticulous in examining the prosecution case and preparing your defence. If we wish to offer a ‘guilty’ plea we will prepare detailed mitigation on your behalf.

Magistrates/Crown Court

Criminal cases can be heard either in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. Every case starts in the Magistrates Court and the most serious cases end up in the Crown Court. It’s important to have expert representation as early as possible and the Solicitors at Abbey can provide you with this at the outset, guiding you through the legal proceedings and building a strong defence for you.

The most serious cases then end up in the Crown Court. Our Solicitors have experience defending a range of highly serious cases

Our services involving serious and complex crime include advice and representation on the following:

  • Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutions
  • Customs (HMRC) investigations and prosecutions
  • SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) investigations and prosecutions
  • CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) investigations and prosecutions
  • DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) prosecution
  • HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigations and prosecutions (Corporate Manslaughter)
  • Terrorism
  • Organized crime
  • Serious drugs cases
  • Money laundering
  • £1m plus fraud cases

Asset Forfeiture, Confiscation Procedures and Restraint Orders

If you become the subject of asset forfeiture and seizures under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as an individual or a company, your affairs will be seriously affected. Furthermore, the assets of your business partners and family members may also be subjected to similar restraint or forfeiture.

This is to ensure that criminals do not benefit from their crimes. If you think you may be subject to such procedures or, as a third party, caught up through the actions of others, it is important to seek legal advice if your interests are to be protected.

The penalties and consequences for the defendants and their associates can be as serious as the criminal proceedings. If you are subject to a pre-charge restraint order or your assets have been restrained while criminal proceedings take place, we can negotiate with the authorities to vary the order or apply for it to be discharged.

Our services include advice on the following:

  • Pre-charge restraint orders
  • Varying restraint orders
  • Releasing third-party assets
  • Releasing business accounts
  • Restoration of seized cash
  • Property freezing orders
  • Asset valuation
  • Civil recovery issues

Private and Legal Aid work

We undertake both private and legal aid work. After the initial consultation, if you decide to use our services, we can determine whether you are eligible for legal aid or if you must pay on a private fee basis.

If you are eligible for Legal Aid you will not be required to pay for your defence. The court will consider both your income and the seriousness of the offence to determine whether Legal Aid should be granted.

To acquire Legal Aid you must first make an application to the Magistrates Court. This can be broken down into the following two tests:

  • Interests of Justice Test: This is the first test that must be passed. Legal Aid is more likely to be granted if imprisonment is a potential outcome. Other factors that will increase the likelihood of Legal Aid being granted will include the seriousness of the charges, whether you admit them or not, the complexity of the defence, how easy it would be to challenge the opposition yourself and whether witnesses are needed.
  • Means test: The second test will be based on your financial situation. If you are claiming either Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), income support or a guaranteed pension, then you will automatically pass this test for Legal Aid.

If you or your partner receive an income that is above £21,000 then you will not be eligible for Legal Aid. If you are single and your income is above £11,590 you will also not be entitled to Legal Aid. However, in both cases it may still be possible to make a claim, taking expenses into account.

If you require help applying for Legal Aid or are unsure if you qualify, get in touch with a member of our Criminal Defence team who will be able to work with you to support your claim.

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