I have legal aid with another firm, I am interested in changing solicitors and want to transfer my case to Raj Law Solicitors. How do I do that?
Firstly let’s consider the reasons for a transfer. There are many reasons why defendants may wish to change solicitors. Sometimes it seems to be as simple as a clash of personality with the solicitor in your current firm, sometimes it is much more serious and you may feel that your solicitors are not acting properly in your defence.
If you have legal aid, it is important to remember that your legal aid costs are being contributed by the public purse. The Legal Aid Agency would prefer not to have to pay two solicitors if not necessary. For that reason, it is the Court who decide whether you will be allowed to change, and they will investigate the reasons behind an Application to Change Solicitors thoroughly before they allow any transfers to go ahead. The Court can agree or refuse your Application.
Reasons for Changing Solicitors
It is crucial that your reasons fit into specific brackets which will be examined by the Court. The current guidelines state that your application will only succeed if:
EITHER if the court is satisfied that effective representation can no longer be provided by your present solicitors because:
OR if the court is satisfied that:
These reasons are crucial to your success. The Court will consider whether there are changes or adjustments which your current firm could make to satisfy your concerns, to avoid the cost of paying a new solicitor.
Some examples of previous reasons given by defendants who were NOT allowed a transfer are:
Some examples of successful applications to transfer are:
If you feel that you have enough reasons which amount to such a breakdown in a relationship between you and your current solicitors that effective representation can no longer be provided, then you should proceed to make an Application to Transfer Solicitors.
Steps to take to make an Application to Transfer
The Court will send the form to your current solicitor and ask for their comments. Once they have considered their response they will make a decision. This usually takes about 1-2 weeks so it is very important to do this early. In some circumstances, where it is no fault of your own, they may make an urgent decision.
What if my Application to Change Solicitors is refused?
This means that the Court has considered all the circumstances and decided that it is possible for you to move forward with you current firm representing you. This is a final decision and you should immediately contact your existing firm to try and work out a way to continue preparation for trial. It is very unlikely that the firm will treat you badly as a result of an Application to Change Solicitor.
What happens if my Application is granted?
This means that your legal aid will be transferred to Raj Law Solicitors who will be keen to start working and preparing your case. They will be entitled to all of the prosecution papers in your case and your old solicitors are likely to assist with relevant information which has already been served on the Court. It might take 1-2 weeks to gather all of this information before Raj Law Solicitors can have an effective appointment with you to take your full instructions.
FAQ on transferring solicitors
Yes. You should first check if you are eligible for legal aid. Raj Law Solicitors Legal Aid department will be able to go through a legal aid application and a means test with you over the telephone to advise you whether you would be eligible.
Yes. You would need to agree some private fees with Raj Law Solicitors first. Then we can notify the Court that you wish to revoke your Legal Aid Order and we can continue to represent you privately.
Yes. However the Court are likely to make the same decision unless something else has happened or there is a change of circumstances.
Yes. This type of Application will be almost fast-tracked, if the solicitor agrees that they are unable to represent you.