Legal aid in extradition cases; Do I qualify?
Many of our clients ask whether there is legal aid for extradition cases – and the answer is yes, there is.
Although it is now called a ‘representation order’, most people still think about legal aid. All extradition cases begin in Westminster Magistrates Court, and you may be eligible for aid at this stage. You can apply with any firm of your choice, as long as they have a criminal contract.
Read on to learn more about how you can access legal aid for your extradition case.
How to access legal aid for extradition cases
There are two ways that you can access legal aid for extradition cases:
There is a means test for legal aid for extradition cases at the Magistrates’ Court. This means that your income, your partner’s income, and your family circumstances will be taken into consideration when deciding if you will be granted aid. You must provide proof of your income and outgoings.
The application will be made by your solicitor of choice to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), where an assessment will be made on your disposable income. You will not have to pay any fees for your extradition hearing if you are granted legal aid.
If your application is refused and you are still unable to afford a lawyer, you can make a hardship application to the LAA for them to reconsider.
There is a merits test for legal aid for criminal cases. However, all extradition cases automatically pass this test.
Can I change my solicitor?
If you have been successful in obtaining legal aid for extradition but wish to instruct another firm to represent you instead, you may face difficulties. If you want to transfer, you must first make an application to the Court and explain the reasons why you want to transfer.
Therefore, it is important that you only apply for representation with a firm you feel confident in from the start. The specialist extradition solicitors at JFH Crime are dedicated to helping you, providing thorough, robust advice and representation at every stage of your extradition case.
All appeals against extradition in the High Court qualify for legal aid. There is no means test in the High Court. This means that you will not have to provide any proof of your income and outgoings. If you instruct a firm to lodge your appeal on this basis, then you will not have to pay for the Court fees for lodging the appeal. Your solicitor will help you with the forms and all fees involved in the appeal.
If you want to know more about extradition proceedings, read our guide to the basics here.
Extradition support with JFH Crime
Get in touch with our team of extradition solicitors in London if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether you would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters.
We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you no matter what you need. With an active presence at Westminster Magistrates Court, we will support you at every step of the way with your extradition case and keep you informed of any developments in your case.
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.