Private Motoring Costs for Magistrate Court Cases
If you are eligible for Legal Aid we will advise you of this and can help you to apply. However, you are unlikely to be able to obtain legal aid for driving offences which are “summary only” – meaning that they can only be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
There are a range of summary only offences, for example:
- Driving a vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit for alcohol
- Failing to provide a specimen
- Failing to stop after an accident
- Careless driving
- Driving without insurance
- Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
For offences such as these, our hourly rates are:-
- Partner – £250 per hour plus VAT
- Solicitor – £220 per hour plus VAT
- Non-qualified staff – £150 per hour plus VAT
In some cases, we will be able to offer a fixed fee, but this is subject to an initial assessment to establish that the case is suitable which will depend upon, for example, the complexity of the case and the nature of your plea.
If your case is suitable for a fixed fee, our fixed fees for summary only motoring offences are as follows:
- Attendance at a single hearing to deal with a guilty plea and mitigation and where travel from our nearest office is not excessive, the fixed fee cost would be £500 plus VAT.
- Attendance at a single hearing to deal with a guilty plea and mitigation where the court is 30 minutes or more away from our nearest office, the fixed fee would be £750 plus VAT
The fixed fee arrangement is based on an estimate of around 3 hours’ total preparation and attendance time, plus representation at a single court hearing.
We will obtain and consider the prosecution evidence, we will advise you on that evidence and where you decide to plead guilty to the charges, we will prepare your mitigation to seek to reduce to a minimum any sentence that you will receive. After the hearing we will give you oral advice upon the merits of any appeal should that be appropriate.
If we have represented you at the first hearing on a fixed fee basis and your case is then adjourned to another date, for example, for a sentence hearing, a trial or a special reasons/exceptional hardship argument, our normal hourly rate would then apply for the subsequent hearing/s.
There are disbursements that are associated with undertaking certain magistrates’ court work that will attract VAT and some that will not. It is not easy to provide an exhaustive list, but the most common disbursements, whether or not they attract VAT and the rate of VAT applicable are listed below:-
Counsel’s fees – we will ordinarily seek to send one of our own specialist advocates to court with you but where this is not possible or cost effective for you we will instruct a barrister (counsel). Where we do so their fees are included in the fixed fee quoted (subject to any request for a specific barrister to be instructed, in which case we will discuss the appropriate fee which can range significantly depending on the seniority of counsel chosen) and will not increase the fee charged. They do generally attract VAT at the rate of 20%.
Travel disbursements – these include mileage charge at £0.45 per mile, parking fees and public transport costs where appropriate. The amount charged will depend upon the distance to be travelled from our offices. Car Parking is likely to be between £2.50 and £25 depending on the time spent and the location of the car park. These disbursements do generally attract VAT at the rate of 20%.
If you have any questions about any specific disbursements that might relate to your case, please do ask for further information.
Should you wish to discuss a fixed fee and the option is not outlined above, we would be happy to discuss this on a case by case basis.