If you’re wondering what the logos on our website mean, they’re proof that we’re legally qualified to help you, that we’re taken seriously by the regulatory authorities, and approved by the organisations that assess the quality of practices.
Here’s what they mean.
Legal Aid Agency
The Legal Aid Agency is the Government body that oversees the CDS and the CLS. Walker Lahive is contracted with the Legal Aid Agency
Investors In People
The Investors In People standard ensures that companies train their staff to a high standard. It has rigorous processes and procedures to review and maintain quality training and motivation. Holders of the Investors In People award are assessed every three years, and we have continued to maintain the standard since 2005. Our last assessment was in December 2014 and, again, we achieved a high standard.
We hold the Specialist Quality Mark standard for criminal legal aid work.
Walker Lahive Solicitors is the trading title of Walker Lahive Ltd – a limited company no. 07409693
VAT Reg. No. 103 1589 46
Directors: WIlliam Lahive and Graham Kinchin
Walker Lahive Ltd is regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority No. 555747
OUR SOLICITORS AND FEE EARNERS
During the course of your case you may come into contact with the following members of staff:
William Lahive – Solicitor and Partner(supervisor)
Graham Kinchin – Solicitor and Partner(supervisor)
Stephen Walker – Consultant Solicitor
Will Rose – Barrister
Robert Stebbings – Solicitor
Jane Wills – Solicitor
David Tarry – Accredited Police Station Representative and Crown Court Clerk
Helen Foster – Practice Manager and Crown Court Clerk
Ross Lewis – Accredited Police Station Representative and Crown Court Manager
Any of the staff named above, and the support staff working for this firm will be happy to assist you should your conducting solicitor be absent.
It is our aim to provide a friendly and efficient service and we shall keep you informed at regular intervals of the progress of your case. Please notify us of any change of address. Please feel free to contact us about your case. It is more likely that you will find a solicitor in the office between 9am and 9.30am or 4pm and 5.30pm. Should you find yourself in an emergency, then every effort will be made to either make rapid contact with your solicitor, or we will find a qualified member of staff to assist you.
HOW WE ARE REGULATED
Walker Lahive Ltd is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (www.sra.org.uk) which is part of the Law Society of England and Wales. Our registration number is 555747.
We hold professional indemnity insurance for work conducted in England and Wales to the value of £3,000,000.00, which means that if anything should go wrong you will not lose out. Our insurance is underwritten by Travelers, our policy number is UC SOL 3887083.
Our VAT number is 103 1589 46.
We are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Out of hours emergency assistance can be obtained from the police station if you are arrested. Individual fee earners may be able to give you additional mobile phone and email contact details, but they may not respond outside of business hours.
WHAT WILL YOUR CASE COST IF ANYTHING?
Most of our services are supplied under the legal aid scheme and if you are in receipt of state benefits it is likely that you will qualify for legal aid; this means that in some cases you will not have to pay anything towards your case costs. However, crown court cases are subject to different rules and in the event that your case goes to the crown court we will write further to outline any costs issues as you may have to pay a contribution to your legal aid. If legal aid is not available we can only act for you if you meet our costs. You will never incur any costs in relation to your representation without them first having been discussed with you and agreed.
If you are acquitted in the Magistrates’ Court, a Defence Costs Order can be made to recover the costs involved in your defence. If an individual is acquitted in the Crown Court, from 27th January 2014 a Defence Costs Order can be made to recover your costs if you have previously applied for legal aid and have been refused on grounds of financial ineligibility. Costs are limited to legal aid rates.
Note however, that in the event that you are convicted of any matter, there may be prosecution costs to pay. In the magistrates’ court prosecution costs rarely exceed £300. In the crown court the costs can be more considerable and in the region of £1000 – £5000 depending on what happens with your case. Whether you will be ordered to pay prosecution costs depends on a number of factors and we will explain these more fully should the need arise. You may also be ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge, which rarely exceeds £100. For offences committed on or after 13th April 2015 you will also be subject to the ‘Criminal Courts Charge’ and we can discuss this with you when we meet.
If legal aid is not available and you are paying us privately we will write to you with a detailed estimate for each stage of the proceedings. That estimate will not be exceeded by any more than 15%. If your case changes in any material respect then we will need to recalculate the costs estimate. In some cases we can offer fixed fees, and if that is the case we will inform you.
Costs are payable within 7 days of us presenting a bill to you, unless that bill is disputed, in which case we will deal with it initially as a complaint. Please note that if bills are not paid promptly then we will cease work on your case.
We will keep you informed of all key developments in your case and write, telephone or email (if you prefer) as and when required. There are very often periods of time (for example before prosecution statements are served) when it can appear that ‘no-one is doing anything’, and we know that this can be frustrating. We will explain to you, as the case develops, what is happening and why. Updates will be at intervals of no more than 6 weeks.
We aim to return phone calls within 48 hours unless the nature of the call is urgent. We will respond to letters within 3 working days.
You should be aware that the Criminal Procedure Rules require you to participate fully in the management of your case, we will advise you as the case progresses of things that you must do. Failure to abide by the Criminal Procedure Rules may mean that your defence is harmed, and there may be costs implications (for example if the case has to be adjourned unnecessarily).
We are also required to be truthful with the court as to your level of cooperation, and on occasion this may mean that we are duty bound to inform the court that you are not being cooperative (if that were the case).
We very much hope that you have no reason to complain, but on occasion things can go wrong, or appear to go wrong. In the first instance we would ask that you contact the fee earner dealing with the matter. S/he will deal with the complaint in accordance with our procedure. You can however choose to raise your complaint directly with our complaints Director who is William Lahive. If you wish to see a copy of our complaints policy then please contact us and it will be provided to you.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The legal Ombudsman can be contact via: www.legalombudsman.org.uk Tel: 0300 555 0333, or at PO Box 15870 Birmingham B30 9EB.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
We aim to treat all persons fairly and equally under the specifications of the Equality Act 2010. A copy of our equality and diversity policy is available on request.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including: Updating and enhancing client records analysis to help us manage our practice statutory returns legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.
STORAGE OF DOCUMENTS
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
We will keep our file of your papers for up to 6 years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them 6 years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you both for: time spent producing stored papers that are requested; reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
QUALITY CONTROL AND CONFIDENTIALITY
We will keep your affairs confidential. External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. If you object to your file being the subject of an audit, please inform us in writing immediately.
Our practice’s policy is to only accept cash up to £1,000. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (or other body) where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.