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Understanding the Role of a Duty Solicitor: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Jan 9

Duty Solicitor

Understanding Duty Solicitors in England and Wales Hello to our readers in England and Wales! Today, we'll delve deep into the world of 'duty solicitors', understanding their role in police stations, courts, and the entire legal process. We'll also help dispel some myths surrounding them.

1. Police Station Duty Solicitor: A police station duty solicitor is a lawyer who provides free legal advice and assistance to individuals detained at a police station. This is a crucial phase, as what transpires in a police station can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

What do they do?

  • They offer advice on your rights while in detention.

  • They can attend police interviews to ensure you are treated fairly and legally.

  • They can help you understand the allegations against you.

2. Court Duty Solicitor: A court duty solicitor, on the other hand, provides legal representation for defendants in magistrates' courts who don’t have a solicitor of their own.

What do they do?

  • They advise and represent individuals at preliminary hearings.

  • They can communicate on your behalf, argue bail applications, and help you navigate the early stages of court proceedings.

3. Are they free? Yes, both police station duty solicitors and court duty solicitors provide their services free of charge. They are funded by the Legal Aid Agency.

4. Are they in league with the police? No, duty solicitors are independent legal professionals. Their primary duty is to their client (you), not the police or prosecution. 5. Why should you have one?

  • At the police station: Anything you say during an interview can be used as evidence against you. Having legal advice ensures you're aware of your rights and can navigate the process without inadvertently self-incriminating.

  • In court: The legal system can be complex. A duty solicitor helps you understand the process, ensuring your rights are protected.

6. Voluntary interviews:

You're entitled to free legal advice even during voluntary police interviews. While you're not under arrest, the implications of the interview can still be serious. 7. Why have a solicitor in court?

It's beneficial to have professional representation to guide you through the court process, argue on your behalf, and ensure you receive a fair trial. 8. Can you have your own solicitor?

Absolutely! While the duty solicitor is there to help if you don’t have your own representation, you're always allowed to hire a private solicitor or use one you've used previously.

9. Payment for your own solicitor: If you choose your own solicitor:

  • At the police station: Your rights to free legal advice still stand. You can instruct your own who will be paid by the Legal Aid Agency.

  • In court: Depending on your financial circumstances, you may qualify for legal aid to cover the costs. Otherwise, you might have to pay privately.

Conclusion: The duty solicitor system in England and Wales ensures that individuals are not left without legal representation in crucial situations. If ever in doubt or feeling overwhelmed by the legal system, remember that these professionals are there to guide and support you, always acting in your best interest.

If you need police station representation in Kent please call 01732 247427. Its free!


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