leading criminal defence
Our senior lawyers are all leaders in their field. Olliers is consistently ranked as a top tier firm by both the Legal 500 and the Chambers guide.
We have a formidable reputation for our pro-active approach to the investigative stage of a criminal case focusing on crisis management, discretion and nipping an investigation in the bud. We are known for our creative and dynamic attitude to problem solving offering a tailored approach to every case.
Matthew Claughton – Managing Director : “at Olliers the interests of the client are paramount … an ethos shared by every single member of the firm”.
The majority of the work we undertake is privately funded, although we undertake publicly funded cases in appropriate circumstances.
The main role that criminal defence solicitors have are providing advice to suspects being interviewed by the police, preparation and advocacy for magistrates court cases and preparation of crown court cases. Preparing a case involves considering the evidence and advising the client on it, as well as maintaining effective communication with the court and the prosecution. Advocacy involves the cross-examination of complainants and witnesses combined with assisting the defendant in presenting their case.
A solicitor’s main role is to prepare cases for court, a barristers main role is undertake advocacy at court. Confusingly criminal solicitors also do advocacy at the Magistrates’ Court and some undertake advocacy at the Crown Court. Barristers are specifically trained for advocacy and therefore are specialised in that area and are more often found in the Crown Court. Solicitors also advise those under arrest at the police station or facing a voluntary police interview. A lawyer is the catch all term for solicitors, barristers and other professionals involved in the legal system.
Being charged means that the decision has been taken that the case should be heard in court. Either a custody sergeant or a CPS lawyer will decide whether someone under investigation for an offence is to be charged. For a suspect to be charged there must be a realistic prospect of conviction and it must also be considered to be in the interests of justice.
A duty solicitor is a solicitor who will attend at court or the police station free of charge to the client funded by legal aid. It is so that accused people who do not have a pre-existing relationship with a solicitor or whose own solicitor is unable to attend have easy access to legal advice. The solicitor that attends is allocated by a rota system, all are independent from the police and are expected to act in their clients best interest. Most criminal solicitors firms participate in the duty rota.
Yes absolutely. The duty solicitor is funded to represent you at the police station by legal aid, however if you are looking to instruct Olliers on a privately funded basis then we can notify the duty solicitor you no longer require there services and inform the police that you have changed representation. We will deal with all of this on your behalf and it is a very easy process.
A voluntary police interview is an interview by the police of a suspect who has attended the police station voluntarily and is not under arrest. By doing this a suspect can avoid being arrested. For certain offences police will often offer a voluntary interview before making an attempt to arrest a suspect, this is especially true for older or historic offences whether there is little need to have a suspect arrested.
Regulatory law involves investigation by agencies into areas such as Trading Standards, Health & Safety, environmental prosecutions, directors duties, product safety, food safety and tax.
Regulatory law is the law of the governing bodies of certain professions, for example doctors are regulated by the General Medical Council and solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Those found to be in breach of regulations risk having their right to practice in that area restricted or removed.
A suspended sentence is a custodial (prison) sentence that a judge has passed but has decided to ‘suspend’ meaning that the offender will not actually go to prison. The judge will decide to suspend the sentence for a set period of time whereby if the defendant commits another offence within that time period he risks being re-sentenced and sent to prison for the duration of the sentence. Only sentences of less than two years are capable of being suspended.
A community penalty is an alternative to prison for those convicted of a criminal offence. They will often involve unpaid work, appointments with the probation service and may involve the attendance on courses, the nature of which would depend on the offence committed, for example an anger management course for someone convicted of a violent offence. Community orders are usually only available for those convicted of less serious offences.