Increase in the Number of Unrepresented Defendants

Research suggests that the number of people appearing unrepresented in court is on the increase. The threshold for the means test of £22,325 has left many without representation and unable to afford to pay for a solicitor in the magistrates court. They may be facing  serious charges which clearly pass the merits test but may be just over the financial limits meaning unless they can borrow the funds they will not be represented at the first court hearing date. They may not know as lay persons  whether they should plead guilty or not guilty and if the latter whether they would be best advised to have their trial in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. It also means court business is being delayed as legal advisers try and assist unrepresented defendants which holds up busy court lists.

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