Criminal Law

Providing a proactive defence

What do we do?

Criminal law is where the government identifies and criminalises behaviour that is considered wrong, damaging to individuals or to society or is otherwise unacceptable. The criminal justice system is the mechanism by which action is taken to deal with those suspected of committing offences from the initial investigation of a crime through to acquittal or to conviction and sentence in the criminal courts.

When you are facing a criminal offence you need advice and representation from expert legal solicitors who understand your case in detail.

Clarkes has one of the county’s leading criminal defence teams and can assist with all types of criminal offences, from minor charges such as motoring offences and criminal damage through to assault, fraud or even serious crime.

How do we do it?

Clarkes will provide the best possible legal team and offer a proactive defence giving clients access to experts such as forensics, witness tracing, accident reports, firearms experts, fingerprint, fibre analysis and reconstruction experts.  Trust the professionals… talk to Clarkes.

Police

If you have been asked to attend at a Police Station for an interview it is important that you have legal representation to help you during the process.

If the interview is under caution you are entitled to be represented by a solicitor.   Representation is your right, use it and make use of our significant experience in this area of law.  Legal aid is available in almost all cases.  Contact Clarkes urgently in advance of your date and we will help you throughout the entire process.

However, if you are arrested and held in custody at a Police Station legal advice and representation is Free of Charge.   Ask for Clarkes once you have been arrested and we will attend at the Police station.  We provide a free callout service at Police Stations, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our police station team has vast experience in all nature of offences from theft and criminal damage through to serious crime and murder.

For expert legal help and advice in this area call Melanie Steele from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Magistrates court

All criminal proceedings begin in the magistrates court, the more serious ones will then be transferred to the Crown Court.  Our experienced team of criminal lawyers have an excellent reputation for defending clients not only throughout Shropshire but also into the West Midlands and Welsh Borders.   Trust the professionals. Talk to Clarkes.

At the Magistrates Court legal aid is available if two simple tests are satisfied.

Step 1 – The court will decide if it is in the interests of justice to provide legal aid and will look at the nature of offence, if it carries a prison sentence or is of a complex or technical nature.

Step 2 – A means test is conducted which is an income based assessment.  Anyone claiming Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Guaranteed State Pension Credit automatically pass the means test.

If an individuals gross annual income is less than £11,590 they qualify but if the income is over £20,740 then legal aid is not available.  Between these two limits a further test is carried out that examines net income after a cost of living has been calculated.  This simple means test can be completed online at www.legalservices.gov.uk or ideally call Clarkes on 01952 618787 and we will carry out the assessment for you.

If legal aid cannot be granted contact Clarkes and one of the criminal lawyers will advise you how best to proceed.  The fees will vary depending upon whether a matter will proceed to trial.  It is worth considering that if a Not Guilty verdict is achieved or if charges are dropped an application can then be made for a defence costs order.  If granted this can result in some or all of the fees you paid being refunded.

At Clarkes all our fees will be agreed with you in advance and we will provide full details of costs and how these are calculated before any legal work is undertaken.  As your case progresses we will keep you fully informed in writing of how much work has been carried out and how much more is likely to be necessary.

For expert legal help and advice with all aspects of Magistrates Court contact Jonathan Mason or Shakeel Ahmed from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Crown court

Any case that is that is to be tried by the Crown Court automatically qualifies for legal aid and there is no means test.  However, at the end of the case if found guilty a decision will be made by the court as to if an individual should be made to pay a contribution to their own legal costs. This is decided on an individual case basis and is means tested.

Clarkes have significant experience at Crown Court and operate by instructing leading Barristers to represent clients on our behalf.  We firmly believe that this system is in the best interest of our clients.

Clarkes provide substantial workloads to the Bar and are able to select the best Barristers from leading chambers for each particular client and case.   All our Barristers must earn the right to not only be included on our selection panel but to remain on it for future legal work.

For expert legal help and advice with all aspects of Crown Court contact our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Trading Standards

Trading standards investigations cover a wide range of potential offences such as trade descriptions, weights and measures, trade marks, copyright, consumer credit and food safety.  If you are involved in a trading standards investigation it can be a distressing and disruptive experience.

Trading standards law relates to new as well as second hand goods and even applies to issues such as when the odometer is altered on a car to give a false mileage – amounting to a false trade description.  Any person who falsely describes goods or services that they supply, or offer to supply while operating as a business, is guilty of an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.

In some cases Trading Standards Officers will obtain the assistance of the Police to make an arrest of potential suspects and to search premises and seize property. It is desirable for individuals or businesses to seek legal advice at this stage.

Clarkes trading standards experts can advise on all aspects of trading standards law and represent clients facing trading standards investigations.  We will help you throughout any investigation and liaise with the investigating bodies, prepare written responses on your behalf and even represent you at interviews under caution, tribunal hearings or prosecutions through the criminal justice system.  In some circumstances it may be possible to negotiate with Trading Standards departments on alternative options to prosecution such as a written warning or formal caution.  We can also keep you up-to-date with Trading Standards law so you can remain fully compliant.

Clarkes have experience acting for clients with action brought against them from:

  • Local Authority Trading Standards Departments
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Medicines and healthcare products Regulation Authority

For expert legal help and advice with Trading Standards contact Shakeel Ahmed from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Copyright and Trademarks

Copyright

Copyright law is an intellectual property right and gives legal protection to owners of original work, allowing them exclusive rights to reproduce their work and license other to do so.

Copyright applies to a wide range of business areas including media and entertainment, manufacturing, software developers, publishers, information technology, online services and web based businesses.

If you are a business, copyright can be a valuable source of revenue.  Clarkes can advise you whether copyright exists in your work and help you manage  intellectual property rights in contracts including licensing agreements, sales of copyright and other forms of intellectual property.

Clarkes have experience dealing directly with copyright collection agencies for copyright owners such as authors, composers, musicians or photographers to ensure licensing agreements are honoured.

Clarkes can advise on copyright disputes both in the UK and internationally and work closely with clients on issues such as infringement, dispute resolution and anti-counterfeiting.

Trademarks

Trademarks are used to identify a product or organisation and can be a name, word, phrase, design or other unique feature such as a sound or smell.  Registering the trademark grants the owner true ownership of the mark and protects against unauthorised use of this identity.

Trademarks can be registered nationally or internationally and are recognised by the abbreviation TM or the ™ symbol.   It is illegal to state that a trademark is registered if this is not the case.

Clarkes can advise on all aspects of trademark protection from conducting a proposed trademark search, preparing the trademark application, receiving the trademark certificate and handling trademark infringements.
For expert legal help and advice with Copyright and/or Trademarks contact Jonathan Mason or Shakeel Ahmed from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Corporate Manslaughter

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 became law on 6 April 2008 and established a new statutory offence of Corporate Manslaughter (Corporate Culpable Homicide in Scotland).

The act makes an organisation liable to prosecution if its activities and the way it manages these cause a persons death, amounting to a gross breach of its duty of care.

The new offence builds on the responsibilities that employers and organisations already owe to their employees and members of the general public, regarding to the premises they occupy and the activities they perform.  Previously an organisation could only be convicted of manslaughter if a senior manager or director was also personally liable.

To establish if an organisation is guilty of corporate manslaughter, the courts will look at management systems and practices across the organisation to establish if an adequate standard of care was applied to the fatal activity.  Juries will be required to consider the extent to which an organisation was in breach of its health and safety requirements and how serious those failings were. They will be able to consider the culture that exists within an organisation relating to health and safety issues. Poor attitudes of management that result in a lower standard of care than could reasonably be expected will be punished.

This legislation is far reaching and can potentially affect all companies, from sole traders and partnerships through to public limited companies.  At Clarkes we are able to offer advice and assistance and even representation during any Health and Safety Prosecution.

For expert legal help and advice with Corporate Manslaughter contact Jonathan Mason or Shakeel Ahmed from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Court Martial

A court martial is a military court established to try members of the armed services who are accused of serious breaches of military law.

Clarkes have many years of experience representing members of the armed forces who are facing a military court or an interview with Military Police.  Our advice and support lasts throughout the entire process, from initial investigations and interviews to a court martial if this is required.

Representation at a Military Police interview is free of charge if the interview is under caution, which is the majority of cases.  Legal Aid is provided to all service personnel facing Courts Martial and is not means tested.

For expert legal help and advice with Courts Martial call Jonathan Mason or Shakeel Ahmed from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Prison Law

Sometimes a prison sentence is unavoidable.  At Clarkes we are committed to preserving the rights and dignity of those serving a custodial sentence or being held on remand.

Prisoners can be confronted by a bewildering array of rules and regulations and problems arising from a term of imprisonment may seem insurmountable in the prison environment.

Clarkes therefore offer advice and representation in all aspects of prison law including:

  • Sentence calculation
  • Categorisation
  • Parole board applications and hearings
  • Transfer applications
  • Home detention curfew (Tagging)
  • Adjudications
  • Mandatory drug testing
  • Licence recall
  • Lifer issues
  • Judicial review

We will always arrange a prison visit to discuss the matter with you in person and in most cases legal aid is available.

For expert legal help and advice with Prison Law call Melanie Steele from our Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Thank you for the outstanding service provided by Clarkes.

For expert legal help and advice contact a member of our experienced Criminal Law team on 01952 618787.

Jonathan Mason

Solicitor and LLP Member

Shakeel Ahmed

Associate Solicitor

Melanie Steele

Accredited Police Station Representative

For more information about how we could help you, please get in touch below.

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