Magistrates Court

The vast majority of criminal prosecutions begin and end at the Magistrates’ Court. Everybody before the court has the right to be represented by a qualified lawyer. In many cases that representation is free of charge under the Legal aid scheme.

Magistrates Court

Both Nick Redhead and Paul Jones have about 20 years experience representing defendants in the Magistrates’ Court. Each has appeared before the Salisbury Court on hundreds of occasions over recent years. We benefit from the fact that we are familiar with the court staff, local procedures and lawyers from the Wiltshire Crown Prosecution Service.

Both Nick and Paul have considerable experience as trial lawyers. Wherever possible, we conduct our clients’ cases personally. On occasion, in consultation with our clients, we instruct barristers to assist with the presentation of cases at trial.

If you are due to appear in court, contact us on 01722 412772 to discuss representation.


Will I get Legal Aid?

Legal Aid is available to many defendants in the Magistrates’ Court. Whether or not you get Legal Aid will depend on your earnings and personal circumstances. Many people assume that they will not get Legal Aid if they have a job. In fact, the Legal Aid scheme does extend to cover some people who are in work. Contact us on 01722 412772 or e-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to find out if you are likely to qualify.

Will I have to represent myself if I don't qualify for Legal Aid?

No, we will be able to represent you on a private paying basis. We appreciate that in the present financial climate many people have limited incomes and can ill afford significant legal costs. We try to ensure that our costs are affordable. We will give you an estimate of the likely fees and promise that the bill will not exceed that estimate without your agreement.

Please bear in mind two things.

First, defendants who represent themselves often end up tongue-tied in court, or forget to mention important points, or say the wrong thing. Representing yourself is usually a false economy. However articulate or intelligent a defendant is, appearing in court is a difficult experience for anyone.

Secondly, if after a trial you are acquitted, or if the prosecution are persuaded to drop the case against you, you will usually be entitled to have some of your legal fees repaid.

How do I apply for Legal Aid?

Contact us on 01722 412772 or call in at our offices at 24 Catherine Street, Salisbury. We will go through the forms with you. If you are working you will need to bring your most recent wage slip with you. If you receive benefits we will need to know your National Insurance number. If you live with a partner, he or she will also have to sign the application form, and provide proof of income, such as a wage slip.

Can’t I just ask for the duty solicitor?

The duty solicitor scheme at court is very limited. Many cases, particularly traffic matters, are outside its scope and the duty solicitor cannot act for you. Furthermore the duty solicitor can only represent you at one hearing, which is no good if your case has to be adjourned for some reason. The duty solicitor cannot appear on your behalf to address the court or cross-examine witnesses at trial.

The duty solicitor is often very pressed for time, and may not be able to give your case as much attention as you might want.

What will happen at court?

It’s difficult to say here, because individual cases and defendants vary so widely. What we can say is that either Nick or Paul will meet you at court before your case comes before the magistrates and we will try to make sure that we deal with all your questions.