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To be charged with taking the life of another person, albeit unintentionally, can be devastating. From wondering how others will think of you, to what could happen to your career, being charged with manslaughter is nothing short of devastating. However painful things may seem, finding the right lawyer for your case is the first step to getting the representation you deserve. In this article, we will share time-tested advice on finding the best manslaughter lawyers in the UK, as well as an overview of the charge of manslaughter so you can better understand and prepare for your case.
Both manslaughter and murder are considered to be forms of homicide, but unlike murder, manslaughter does not necessarily involve the intent to kill. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, manslaughter is committed in one of three ways:
Examples 2 and 3 are considered involuntary manslaughter, as the perpetrator did not intend to kill the victim. Type 1 is deemed to be voluntary manslaughter as the intent to kill was present.
Here are some concrete examples to make things clearer:
Similar to murder, the maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment, but shorter sentences tend to be given. Below is a breakdown of average sentencing times for each category of manslaughter:
Given the large sentencing range for manslaughter, with the possibility of staying in prison for life, finding the most qualified manslaughter lawyer in the UK is imperative. To assist your search, here are some characteristics and dispositions any trusted manslaughter lawyer will have.
Able to think quickly
Manslaughter trials are complex, and the stakes are obviously high given the sentencing ranges we noted above. Hiring a lawyer that can meticulously plan their trial approach, as well as think quickly in the courtroom, will be invaluable. A lawyer that can quickly gather their thoughts on contradictory statements during a cross-examination period could also lead to you receiving a lesser sentence.
Able to research deeply
If you are charged with any type of manslaughter, it is crucial to have a lawyer on your side with meticulous research skills. A lawyer that can research information quickly yet deeply will be able to locate obscure cases and hopefully find something analogous to get your charges lowered or dropped altogether.
Arguably more beneficial than being a great researcher is already having the experience from years of defending similar cases. Retaining a manslaughter lawyer with many years of experience (5 or more, at least) will mean they will not be spending unnecessary time on every detail of your case. A manslaughter specialist will know the most common – and most effective – ways of dealing with your case quickly because they will have dealt with a similar case in the past. Less time spent on your case means lower fees in the long run.
Here are some of the best ways to find qualified and experienced manslaughter lawyers in the UK.
Reading through the top legal magazines and articles is a highly effective way to find a trusted lawyer that specialises in manslaughter. Often, the authors of these pieces are leaders in their fields of expertise. Indeed, not just anyone has the opportunity to write these posts – you usually have to be invited. A well-known, popular publication to examine is Criminal Justice Matters. If you are looking for more complex literature, look into the Journal of Criminal Law. Reading these publications will inform you about your case and the law surrounding it. Having that knowledge will make discussions with your lawyer that much more streamlined and less taxing for you.
Word of mouth
As long as you are comfortable discussing your charges, receiving referrals from trusted individuals is another way of finding an excellent lawyer. In contrast to online reviews, a friend can give you personalised feedback on questions specific to your matter. Receiving first-hand information means you will know that specific lawyer much more than you would if using another type of query. Having more information when deciding on a lawyer to represent you is paramount. Lack of proper information could mean finding out you made poor decisions months down the road.
Reviewing industry rankings
Industry ranking databases allow you to sort through thousands of law firms or individual practitioners based on criteria of your choice. These may be their peer rating, location, areas of competence, or something else. Well-known directories include Legal 500, and Law Firms. Some of these directories have comparative guides produced by renowned firms to educate on leading topics and legislation. Not all chapters of these guides are specific to England and Wales, however, so ensure you are reading about the correct jurisdiction.
Searching the internet
This may sound an obvious one, but internet searches carry a wealth of potential when it comes to finding an experienced lawyer… if used correctly. Including proper keywords in your search such as, “experienced manslaughter law firms,” “lawyers specialising in manslaughter near me,” and similar phrases will help narrow down your search. If you use an internet search in tandem with directory reviews to cross-reference your findings, you will quickly find the best of the best.
Reviewing the UK Law Society website
One of the best online resources to look for manslaughter lawyers online is the UK Law Society website. Similar to legal directories, you will be able to search for lawyers that meet the criteria you set out. But, the Law Society’s site has the added benefit of marking lawyers or firms that are highly successful with a Law Society badge. This function alone will save you time sorting through hundreds of options. Here is the best place to start your search.
Each lawyer will charge a different rate based on their experience, qualifications, and the specifics of your individual case. However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind for fees for manslaughter lawyers.
Criminal defence lawyers in the UK typically charge anywhere from £120-400 per hour, with certain exceptions. If you hire a lawyer in the London area, be prepared to pay slightly higher fees than in other parts of the country. With straightforward hourly charging, your lawyer keeps track of how much time is spent on your case and bills you on a regular basis thereafter (usually monthly).
In contrast to hourly billing, retainer agreements involve paying a fee in advance decided by you and your lawyer based on your case’s complexity and other factors. The lawyer’s time, fees, and other charges are deducted from this amount as your case proceeds. Lawyers that use this fee arrangement will usually request a retainer every month. Note that if your case exceeds the parameters initially decided upon, the retainer fee is likely to increase.
Fixed fee schedules
Last are fixed fee schedules. Similar to retainer agreements in that a flat fee is agreed upon, this is owed either during or after the work is completed. This fee will also be decided by your case’s complexity, the lawyer’s experience and education, and other similar factors.
If you are struggling to find non-judgmental lawyers that specialise in manslaughter cases, we at Stuart Miller Solicitors can help. With decades of experience in complex manslaughter trials, hundreds of successful cases, and affordable rates, our specialised manslaughter solicitors can help your life get back to normal. Contact us today to arrange your consultation.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.
We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.