1 - Getting legal advice

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Getting independent legal advice is very important when you are involved in some way with the criminal process. The factsheets tell you when and in what circumstances you are entitled to be represented by a lawyer. They also tell you what a lawyer will do for you. This general factsheet tells you how to find a lawyer and how the costs of the lawyer will be met if you cannot afford to pay.

Right to legal advice

If you have been arrested or if you are attending the police station voluntarily to answer police questions, it is your right to consult a lawyer free of charge. You also have the right to have the lawyer present during questioning by police. For more information on your right to legal advice, see Link opens in new windowFactsheet 2.

Finding a lawyer

You can choose any lawyer you wish who is willing to assist you. The Link opens in new windowLaw Society of Northern Ireland will be able to provide you with a list of lawyers whom you may contact. If when arrested you do not know of a lawyer to contact, the police will give you the chance to choose one from a list of lawyers who are willing to provide legal advice.

Paying for a lawyer

Whether you have been arrested and detained by the police or are attending a police station voluntarily, then free legal advice and assistance is available under the legal aid scheme. The lawyer is responsible for taking care of this matter.

Related links

Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989

Code of Practice Chttp://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1989/uksi_19891341_en_1

Link opens in new windowThe Law Society of Northern Ireland

Citizens Advice Bureau, Northern Ireland

Link opens in new windowNorthern Ireland Legal Services Commission

Link opens in new windowAgencies involved in criminal justice

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Last update: 25/02/2019