Legal Advice Prior to Attending Court
The Magistrate’s Court has a Duty Advocate scheme where, for a first appearance before the Magistrate, defendants facing certain types of offences will be given advice.
This service is free of charge but you must arrive by 09.30 so that the Duty Advocate can discuss the case with you. If you have been taken into the Police station, you can also see the duty lawyer at the station. However, not everyone can see the duty lawyer and you will be asked some questions to see if you qualify.
If your case is not dealt with on the day, you will be required to get a lawyer outside of the Duty Advocate scheme. Depending on the charge and your circumstances, Legal Aid may be available.
If you are being held on custodial remand, you can ask the Unit Manager in charge of your wing for Legal Aid. You will be seen by the Duty Advocate on your first appearance in Court.
Right to Legal Representation
In the UK you have the right to see a lawyer but in Jersey you may be required to pay some or all of the advocate’s fees depending on your financial circumstances.
An Advocate in Jersey is the same as a lawyer in the UK. An Advocate does not have to agree to represent you and if they do, they can withdraw at any time if they are professionally embarrassed or conflicted, e.g. the evidence is clear but you will not follow the advice.
Advocate’s right to refuse to act for a client
If your Advocate does not wish to carry on working for you, there is nothing to stop them from doing so. The Royal Court does not have the power to order an Advocate to carry on if they don’t want to.