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Chambers & Partners 2023

Police investigation and pre-charge advice

Our lawyers are criminal defence specialists with a wealth of experience representing individuals at police interviews across the UK. We have advised clients across the full spectrum of criminal offences: from minor allegations to the most serious and complex.

We engage in proactive pre-charge representation, assisting clients prior to the police interview and throughout the entirety of the investigation to bring matters to an early and favourable conclusion.

If you are under investigation or invited to attend a voluntary interview under caution, it is imperative that you exercise your right to independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity. The police interview is a critical point of any criminal case and will determine if, and how, your matter proceeds along the criminal track. Instructing a strong defence team from the outset is crucial to ensure that your legal position is robustly protected at all times.

Representation at the police station under Legal Aid is limited, with a fixed fee only covering work conducted in the police station. For most suspects in the system, this means meeting their representative for the first time on the day of the scheduled police interview and receiving little to no contact thereafter until a charging decision has been made. Pre-charge engagement under Legal Aid is also restrictive and does not apply until after the first interview under caution.

We only accept pre-charge advice and representation instructions on a private basis which enables us to act without restriction and provide you with all the professional advice, legal representation and emotional support you need, from the outset of a criminal investigation through to its conclusion.

Facing a criminal allegation, irrespective of the seriousness, can have a profound impact upon your wellbeing, career, family and everyday life. We will represent you ethically, non-judgementally and act for you with total privacy and sensitivity, whilst supporting you throughout the investigation.

How we can help

Our private pre-charge advice and representation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Assuming all direct communication with the relevant authorities and facilitating communication to protect your wellbeing
  • Securing a suitable date/time/location, to the satisfaction of all parties, for the interview under caution to take place
  • Obtaining detailed pre-interview disclosure from the police so you can properly understand the evidence and case against you
  • Thorough preparation of your case and detailed advice in advance of the interview under caution so that you feel fully prepared and supported
  • Identifying early lines of inquiry for pre-charge engagement to expedite the process.
  • Attending the police station to represent you for the interview under caution to ensure that your basic and legal rights are protected throughout, including any further interviews
  • Entering into formal pre-charge engagement with the police and proactively defending you thereafter, for example, identifying important lines of enquiry, gathering, preserving and reviewing evidence, speaking with witnesses, obtaining third party material and instructing defence experts on your behalf
  • Submitting robust pre-charge written defence representations against charge to be carefully considered by police or CPS
  • Regular contact and support throughout your case, including face to face and video conferences, at your convenience

We can help at any stage of the police investigation; whether you are currently under investigation following arrest and interview, have been invited to a voluntary interview by police or are awaiting a charging decision. Please contact us today to discuss your case in complete confidence with our private Pre-Charge representation team.

Pre-charge engagement is a voluntary process, formally entered into by the parties to an investigation (suspect, police and prosecution) following the initial interview under caution and before any charge(s).

The Attorney General’s Office highlighted the following, non-exhaustive, list of the benefits of pre-charge Engagement:

  • Suspects who maintain their innocence will be aided by early identification of lines of inquiry which may lead to evidence or material that points away from the suspect or points towards another suspect
  • Pre-charge engagement can help inform a prosecutor’s charging decision. It might avoid a case being charged that would otherwise be stopped later in proceedings, when further information becomes available
  • The issues in dispute may be narrowed, so that unnecessary inquiries are not pursued, and if a case is charged and proceeds to trial, it can be managed more efficiently
  • Early resolution of a case may reduce anxiety and uncertainty for suspects and complainants
  • The cost of the matter to the criminal justice system may be reduced, including potentially avoiding or mitigating the cost of criminal proceedings

Early and meaningful pre-charge engagement is clearly advantageous to anyone facing a criminal investigation. We have advised a growing list of clients in pre-charge matters, with many cases being concluded promptly and resulting in no charge.

We accept instructions on a private basis. We also conduct work funded through the Legal Aid system however we do not take on all publicly funded cases and not all lawyers in the firm are available for this work. Please contact us to discuss private case costs and eligibility for legal aid. 

Contact the team

Telephone: 020 7734 9700

Madeleine Corr Madeleine Corr
Raymond Shaw Raymond Shaw
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