Direct Access Success


Nigel Power QC was instructed to represent ER on a direct access basis. She was accused of benefit fraud, having overclaimed disability living allowance, housing benefit, income support and council tax benefit in the sum of £60,500.

She claimed to be suffering from epilepsy which was so debilitating that she could not venture outside with the assistance of someone else, although she was observed carrying furniture and photographs were recovered showing her competing at equestrian events. She was also observed living at her partner’s house with their daughter despite having the tenancy on another house. 

Because of the finding that ER was living with her partner, their joint income meant that the contributions to any representation order that came from the Legal Aid Agency were going to be very high, and any application meant that there would need to be a very detailed enquiry into his earnings and assets to set the level of contributions. Instead, ER instructed Nigel on a Direct Access Basis at a cost which was less than she had been quoted to be represented by solicitors and a junior barrister. 

ER pleaded guilty and the total sum overclaimed meant that the Sentencing Council guidelines suggested a bracket of immediate custody of between 4 months and 18 months. However, Nigel was able to present mitigation which persuaded the Judge to pass a suspended sentence and allowed ER to go home.

From the 27th January 2014, anyone whose disposable annual income is not less than £37,500 does not qualify for legal aid in criminal proceedings. To instruct Nigel directly in any type of case, email directly or call 0845 450 0707.