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Being charged with a crime often will make others view you differently. They may distrust you, sever friendships, or refuse business deals. Murder is one such crime that affects your social status in a noticeably different way. A murder charge can make people fear you, including people you love and cherish. If you feel the nerve-wracking effects of murder charges on a day-to-day basis, this article can help you find some relief and guidance. Read on for advice on finding the best murders lawyers in the UK so you can start to get your life back on track.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), murder is committed when a person takes the life of another individual under the following circumstances:
It is salient to point out that murder can take place by an act committed or omitted, so long as there is a substantial causal connection between the act of the offender and the death of the victim. This act need not be the sole cause of death either. If you contribute in a significant way to someone’s death, you may be charged for murder even if other causes that were out of your control are at play.
To make the charge of murder as clear as possible, here are some examples:
Regarding sentencing, whenever a person is convicted of murder they must be given a life sentence, according to the Sentencing Council. However, the judge is required by law to set a minimum term, which generally ranges from 15 to 30 years. This minimum sentence will be decided upon based on the facts of the case, such as the amount of planning involved, if the person charged plead guilty, if a position of trust was abused, and so on.
Murder carries one of the heaviest sentences for a crime and is not to be taken lightly. Your search for a competent lawyer – whether barrister or solicitor – to head your case should be done with the utmost care. To aid your inquiry, here are some qualities a successful murder lawyer needs to have:
Able to think on their feet
Murder trials are complex processes that are gone into with immense planning by any good lawyer. Whether questioning witnesses or conducting cross-examination, a good murder lawyer must be able to think on their feet to allow for opportunities to poke holes in the evidence brought against you.
Although this goes without saying generally, it is worth reiterating for murder cases. Given the deep complexity of murder cases and the delicate arguments that must be made in your defence, getting a lawyer with demonstrated experience in defending murder cases is imperative. This applies, too, to sentencing matters; a lawyer that has had experience persuading the judge to apply more lenient sentences will pay dividends for you in the long-run. It may also help to get your case wrapped up in less time. And less time spent on your case means lower fees for you in the long run.
While this disposition may seem at odds with the classical picture of a highly analytical lawyer, it is nonetheless the marker of a sophisticated defence lawyer to have genuine care for their clients. Going through meetings, trial preparation, and other emotionally trying situations will be much easier if you know that the professional you hired is not working on your case simply for the money. They are doing it to make sure you get the representation you deserve.
With these important characteristics of a strong, professional murder lawyer in mind, the matter turns to how to find such a person in the first place. Here are some of the best places to find a reputable murder lawyer in the UK:
Word of mouth
Assuming you are comfortable discussing your charges with trusted confidants, receiving first-hand referrals from friends and family is one of the best ways to find a proven lawyer. It might be tough finding someone in your social circle who has faced a murder charge before, but they might have faced some criminal proceedings and know of a good firm to refer you to. Often, finding a law firm that’s a good fit is half the battle.
Although it may sound challenging, reading through the top legal magazines and articles is a highly effective way to find a competent lawyer that specialises in murder cases. In many instances, the authors of articles in these publications are masters in their field. An easy-to-digest publication to start reviewing is Criminal Justice Matters. As a bonus, you will also get informed about your case and the law surrounding it, making discussions with your lawyer that much more streamlined and less mentally taxing for you.
Review industry rankings
Another reliable way of finding the most renowned murder lawyers or firms is by searching through legal directories. These databases assist you in finding a legal expert that will meet the qualifications you desire, however complex they are. These can be areas of specialisation, peer-rating, location, or something else. Directories for finding an experienced murder lawyer in the UK include Law Firms, Legal 500, and Chambers. Some of these contain comparative guides that are written by leading firms. These guides can serve to educate others on leading topics and legislation in a specific niche. Note that not all chapters of these guides are specific to the law of England and Wales, so some diligence is required to ensure you are reading about the correct jurisdiction.
Review the UK Law Society website/directory
Akin to legal directories, another way to find murder lawyers in the UK is by reviewing the Law Society’s website. You can search for both firms and sole practitioners by setting out specific filters to narrow your search results. More importantly, the UK Law Society recognises quality lawyers/firms excelling in their field with a badge to indicate their proficiency. The site also provides a simple-to-understand guide about getting advice from a solicitor on common legal issues, which will help you learn what to expect.
Bearing in mind that each lawyer will charge differently based on their experience, education level, and the complexity of the case at hand, coming up with a general fee for a murder matter is no straightforward task. That said, understanding the general fee schedules that are used in most criminal matters will help clear up confusion as to how you might be charged.
For criminal lawyers in the UK, the average range per hour is anywhere from £120-400. Keep in mind that if you hire a lawyer in the London area, they will likely be more expensive than comparable lawyers in different parts of the country.
No win, no fee arrangements
Also called contingency fee agreements, this type of fee schedule revolves around whether or not you win your case. If they win the case, then they will take a fee. If not, then you are not obligated to remit funds for the lawyer’s fees (though you might still face court and other costs).
These arrangements involve paying for a certain amount of a lawyer’s services upfront. For example, you might pay a retainer of £4000 per month to cover 10 hours of an experienced lawyer’s fees during that time period. The lawyer then deducts their fees from that amount. Paying via a retainer gives the lawyer security that they will receive payment, and you usually get a small discount because of it.
Flat fee schedules
Flat or fixed fee schedules mean you pay a set amount for the lawyer’s representation in your case. These schedules are less common in complex matters like murder charges because it’s not always clear in advance how long your case will take or what work might be required to mount your defence. They are still worth understanding, however, in case your lawyer proposes one.
At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we pride ourselves on having renowned, non-judgmental, experienced murder lawyers that come from a variety of different backgrounds. We are familiar with cases end-to-end and might even be able to get the case dropped before trial if we have access to the evidence the police hold against you. If you are looking to find peace of mind, at an affordable cost, get in touch for a free consultation today.
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.