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Court Proceedings

When you’re left in the dock, we’ll be right by your side.

If you are being prosecuted for a crime it can be a very daunting process. But you are entitled to help and advice to make the whole process less confusing and as fair as possible – and that’s where we come in.

From advice during an arrest to representing you in court, everyone has the right to a defence. We are here to help guide you through the process, give clear advice and where necessary, prepare a case on your behalf. We will listen to your side of the story and advise you whether you have a valid defence.

How we can help

If you are faced with prosecution and have to appear in court we can help with your case. Our expert team of 19 experienced solicitors cover all areas of criminal law and can represent you on any case, ranging from simple road traffic offences to applications for extraditions as well as the most serious of crimes such as murder, large scale frauds and complex criminal conspiracies.

We are one of a limited number of solicitors who are authorised to represent clients under the Legal Aid scheme where the case has been adopted by the Complex Crime Unit. Typically these are large scale fraud, money laundering or drugs related cases.

We can assist with:

  • Providing advice on the evidence of your case
  • Guiding you through the prosecution process
  • Advising you on whether or not you have a defence to the charges against you and the chances of obtaining a favourable result
  • Obtaining details of the prosecution’s case in advance of your appearance in court
  • Preparing a case on your behalf, including seeing witnesses
  • Representation in court
  • Making legal submissions to the judge and presenting your defence in the best possible light
  • Negotiating charges to be withdrawn
  • Applying for Legal Aid where it is available

However you plead, we can help.

If you plead not guilty, we can help with:

  • Representing you in court
  • Obtaining details of the prosecution’s case in advance of your appearance in court
  • Taking your instructions and preparing a case on your behalf, including seeing witnesses
  • Advising your witnesses on the rules of being a witness and prepare them for what to expect in court
  • Cross examination of the prosecution witnesses
  • If necessary, instructing experts to challenge the evidence against you
  • Making legal submissions to thecourt and presenting your defence in the best possible light

If you plead guilty, we can help with:

  • Representing you in court
  • Achieving the most lenient outcome possible
  • Obtaining details of the prosecution’s case in advance of your appearance in court
  • Taking your instructions and prepare a case on your behalf
  • Advising you on sentencing guidelines
  • Presenting your mitigation to the court
  • Presenting character evidence to the court
  • Advising and helping you to plan and be prepared for the sentencing day
  • Advising on sentence and whether there are any grounds for appeal

If your case is sent to the Crown Court our highly specialised Crown Court team will take you through every step of the case, discussing the evidence, advising you and explaining the process and ensuring that you get the best representation possible.

We can also help with:

  • Appeals to the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights
  • Confiscation, seizure and proceeds of crime
  • Applications for extradition
  • Complex fraud allegations
  • Police complaints

Our aims

  • To help to pursue for clients the best result possible
  • To present your defence in the best light possible
  • To remain proactive, responsive, committed and fully focused for the duration of your case
  • To use other expert teams within the firm to assist where appropriate, such as the Police Station and  Prison Law teams
  • To maintain personal contact throughout, offering clear, honest appraisals of the situation
  • To provide clear guidance on costs at the outset of the case
  • To examine funding options such as Legal Aid and make the quality advice you need accessible and affordable
  • To be a supportive, patient, non-judgemental advisor throughout
  • To ensure you feel properly supported and effectively represented at all times
  • To clearly explain the legal process and give a clear understanding of both formalities and responsibilities in plain English

Chambers 2018 

The prestigious Chambers Guide ranks Howells Criminal department as a top firm.

Legal 500 2017

Howells Criminal department is highly ranked by Legal 500 2017  saying

“The crime practice at Howells is headed by the ‘proactive, knowledgeable and astute’ John Gibson in Sheffield, who has particular experience in defending clients who are alleged to be involved in gang-related crime. The department has considerable advocacy strength. The firm also carries out legal aid work and is particularly well known for its expertise in extraditions, youth crime, public order law and cases involving civil liberties, human rights and mental health. It has also been instructed in cases involving prison law, and in judicial reviews.”


The Court Proceedings team

Our expert criminal defence team is a highly experienced, successful and resourceful unit, focused on getting the best possible outcome for its clients. The team is consistently rated in the top band in the North East and Yorkshire in the prestigious Chambers Guide to the Law. These are smart lawyers with sharp minds, tough and resolute in their legal representation, diligent and skilful in their investigatory work. It’s a team you’ll want on your side.

Please click here to view the criminal law team staff profiles