The rights of a suspect arrested at common law or detained under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 are now set out in sections 14, 15 and 15A of that Act. A suspect who is detained, arrested or merely attending voluntarily at a police station has a statutory right to a private consultation with a solicitor (and not any other legal adviser) before questioning begins and at any other time during questioning.
There are arrangements in place for a solicitor to be available to provide advice and assistance to anyone to whom section 15A of the 1995 Act applies. Subject to a suspect’s right of waiver, in all but the most exceptional cases, evidence of an admission made by the suspect before they have been afforded that right will be inadmissible in any subsequent trial. We can ensure that such suspects receive prompt, appropriate legal advice in a way which is practical and effective.
The rights are consistent with the privileges afforded under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights which confers the right to liberty and security. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law to ensure either the lawful detention or arrest of a person is effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or to deal with any post-conviction matters.
Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other court officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
Article 6 of the ECHR confers the right to a fair trial. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
Solicitors are entirely independent of the police and the courts. You are our client, and the free advice and assistance that we provide will be of invaluable assistance to you during a critical period. Our advice is intended to allow you to make the best decisions in your case. Furthermore, our advice and your instructions remain entirely confidential. This confidentiality extends throughout you case and after your case has concluded.
Independence is essential to the function of solicitors in their relationships with all parties and it is the duty of all solicitors that they do not allow their independence to be impaired irrespective of whether or not the matter in which they are acting involves litigation. Independence means that solicitors must not allow themselves to be restricted in their acting on behalf of or in giving advice to their clients, nor must they allow themselves to be influenced by motives inconsistent with the principles of the code of conduct.
Solicitors must always act in the best interests of their clients subject to preserving their independence as solicitors and to the due observance of the law, professional practice rules and the principles of good professional conduct. Solicitors must not permit their own personal interests or those of the legal profession in general to influence their actings on behalf of clients; further, their actings must be free of all political considerations.
The observance of client confidentiality is a fundamental duty of solicitors. This duty applies not only to the solicitors but also to their partners and staff, and the obligation is not terminated by the passage of time. This principle is so important that it is recognised by the courts as being essential to the administration of justice and to the relationship of trust which must exist between solicitor and client.
We are a firm of 24 hour lawyers. In urgent situations we are able to be contacted and are available for immediate representation should the situation demand it. It is your right to have us present to advise you. You have the right to legal advice so it must be important. Make sure you exercise that right.
We are experts in the field of criminal law. We have the necessary legal expertise to protect your interests and can advise you how to navigate a difficult and stressful criminal case. We can provide tailored advice in relation to your predicament and police practices, court procedure, policy and practice, rules of evidence, the implications of criminal charges and any impending trial.
Even if you haven’t done anything wrong we can help you. Choosing to instruct a solicitor does not make you look guilty to the police. Choosing not to have a solicitor might place you in a vulnerable situation in terms of how the police deal with your case. It may be detrimental to your interests to attend at a police custody suite or interview without the benefit of legal advice or accompanied by a trained expert in the field of criminal law. If you haven’t done anything wrong, you might still struggle to explain yourself in the pressured environment of a police interview. Our presence and advice will help ease that pressure.
The reason you are being interviewed is because the police suspect your involvement in a criminal offence. Any discussion is to investigate that matter. The outcome may have serious consequences for your future. It is imperative that you exercise caution and seek appropriate legal advice.
We know that you will want to be released from the police station as soon as possible. However impatience and a premature decision to try and rush things may be harmful to the proper preparation of your case.
If you are subsequently charged, the conduct in the police station is likely to have serious implications for your case. If your case comes before the court then your police interview may be important. It is preferable that you have given thoughtful and considered responses to police questioning having had an opportunity to discuss the evidence first with a knowledgeable practitioner.
Your legal representative will have an opportunity to speak with you about the information disclosed and take your instructions. You will receive advice about what the evidence shows and whether you ought to give your account to the police. Should you need to discuss any aspect of your case during interview then you will be able to request that the interview be stopped for a further consultation. Your solicitor might notice a point of evidence that you need to provide instructions on. In that case, they can request that the interview be stopped. Without a solicitor, the police will not provide you with the evidence in advance and you will have to make your own decision whether, and how, to answer questions during the interview. In those circumstances, it may be ill advised to proceed without a discussion and degree of foresight.
A solicitor will be important in negotiations for many reasons. For example, it might be argued that there is insufficient evidence to charge you with an offence. Alternatively, where the police are thinking of charging a serious offence may have the opportunity to suggest less serious offences. The police may want to keep you for court to seek a remand into prison custody. We can suggest bail conditions on your behalf at the police station. Alternatives to charge might be appropriate such as a police caution or a restorative justice measure. Again, we can submit arguments on your behalf to try and ameliorate the position.
Our experts are skilled criminal law practitioners and are available for instruction. We are able to advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case and can further assist in the preparation and presentation of your case.
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