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Help with legal aid v freezing order.

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tylers | 11:30 Sat 24th Sep 2011 | Law
13 Answers
After a little help please. I have had a freezing order placed on all my assets in June 11 as I have been accused of theft and handling stolen goods. I am afforded £250 per week to satisfy my liabilities, these include mortgage, electric, 2 kids, wife etc. I must add I have NOT been charged with anything and the CPS have reviewd the file and sent it back to the police for further work. The lawyer tells me this is a good thing as they obviously dont have a case otherwise they would charge now. They now state this will take 3 weeks with a further 3 for the CPS to make a decision. This is causing such turmoil in my life since I haven't done anything. My creditors are circling, normal stuff like gas and electric and bank for the mortgage. I have applied for legal aid however, they have still not answered after 6 weeks and this has been chased, I have been told it is a no brainer as I have no access to pay for legal representation but in the mean time I cant challenge the order to have it revised or removed because I dont have legal aid!!!! Catch 22! I desprately need to pay the bills. Now with anothr 6 weeks wait (at least) this will probably take me over the edge. I am aware that the principal of law is that you are innocent till proven guilty, obviously not in this case. Can anyone suggest a new approach that might allow me to challenge this order? The solicitor is not prepared to take this further until he sees the cash either as a private client or through the legal aid route....
Thank you.

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If your solicitor won't act, you should be able to apply to Court yourself. As you have no money, it should be possible for you to get exemption from any Court fee - there is a recognised procedure for doing this. I suggest you go back to CAB & ask them to help you by giving you information on how to go about this, where to get the necessary Court forms, how to fill them...
19:46 Fri 30th Sep 2011
You say "I am afforded £250 per week to satisfy my liabilities, these include mortgage, electric, 2 kids, wife etc." then you say "My creditors are circling, normal stuff like gas and electric and bank for the mortgage"
Does this meaning you are having to spend money on other things that have to come before those mortgage/utility payments? I thought maybe legal fees were draining the resources bu then you suggest at the end that the solictor hasn't been paid.
If you are innocent this does seem unfair but I'm not sure what the alternative is
Question Author
Thanks,
The judge who signed this off allowed the amount of £250 as suggested b the police, this in no way satisfies liabilities hence the creditors. I use this to provide the basics for my wife and 2 kids, shoes for school etc. I have attempted to pay the phone bill however, another problem arises as it is seen as quite unusual that you don't pay by DD (everything was paid this way prior). Once you state you want to pay with cash this causes confusion the other end. I should have mentioned the reason for the order was that whilst I was being investigated I put my car up for sale, not covertly, extremely publicly so I had no thoughts what so ever of hiding money, I actually thought I needed to sell it to pay for my lawyer. It seems to me as if the judge who read this in private had a pile of them and stamped them off one by one. The order itself was full of inaccuracies, wrong age, wrong place of arrest, wrong DOB, apparently this makes no difference either...guilty till proven innocent as I said.
1. What is happening about things like child benefit & child tax credit (if entitled)? These are for the children & should not be anything to do with the freeze, as they are not your income or asset, & they should be in your wife's name as main carer anyway.

2. Unless the mortgage is very high £1080 p calendar month doesn't seem so little as to be unmanageable. If it is, could you ask the mortgage lender for a payment holiday, or for a temporary reduction to interest only?

3. The legal aid clearly needs to be chased again - presumably the solicitor is still acting on this. If he isn't, can you not chase it yourself and explain the urgency?
Question Author
Thank you. Accounts in joint names so no access to anything. My mortgage is circa 900/month so you see where I am comming from when I say £250 per week is a joke. I have researched and based on all legal guidence on these orders the judge or the claimant have not acted appropriatley. It clearly states that reasonable finance should be made available for legal representation, it has not. Parliament even changed the act to reflect this bit. Also lifestyle should be taken into consideration, it has not. Is there a real risk of diapation of funds, there was not.The assumption was made because I put my car up for sale. Full and frank disclosure from the claimants, there was not, errors on the disclosure coupled with a distinct lack of details.So you can see why I am seeking any helpful advice on this, I feel like I am being screwed over by the legal system and my solicitor is little help as he is not getting any money.
What form does the freezing order take? Does it only freeze the money which goes into the joint account? Or does it prevent any change being made so that money which now goes into the joint account instead goes elsewhere?

If the former is the case, then it may be possible for your wife (as I assume she is the main carer of the children & that she is not involved in this problem) to get the child benefit & child tax credit paid into a new account opened in her sole name. (However, I would caution against doing this without being 100% certain it is not going to get you into further trouble.) I say that because the benefit money is not yours, & should have nothing to do with this problem. Any of it which is now in the joint account should, of course, be released but this can't be done without going back to Court.

I don't know the nature of this Court order, but it should be possible to go back to Court to apply for a variation. If you still do not have legal aid (& this really must be actively chased) it might be possible to get some advice on how to go about it from any local free law centre or CAB.
Question Author
Thanks Themas. All monies, wages etc are paid into joint accounts so no access without variation or lifting of the order. We don't get tax credits. I have approached the CAB and all they could advise was to go to court and seek a lifting or variation, they didn't seem to comprehend that whilst I would love to, I can't as I have no access to funds to pay for this. Apparently the cps can do this even though no charges have been brought causing so much misery in our family life. This is effecting my children which is a massive cause for concern. I feel totally lost in what, if anything that can be done....guilty until proven innocent I suppose.I genuinly think a bundle of these orders were placed in front of the judge and he just stamped and signed off, based on the content of mine I just can't understand why/how he could sign this based on the legal tests that should have been applied, they obviously were not.
Any help greatfully received.
If your solicitor won't act, you should be able to apply to Court yourself. As you have no money, it should be possible for you to get exemption from any Court fee - there is a recognised procedure for doing this. I suggest you go back to CAB & ask them to help you by giving you information on how to go about this, where to get the necessary Court forms, how to fill them in etc. They should be able to help you in this way.
Question Author
Thankyou-fantastic, I will give it a go.
Question Author
Furthermore...why couldn't the solicitor tell me that???aggghhhhhh. Bloody cowboy.
Reading through your posts & thinking about this again, I may have raised your hopes incorrectly. If I have, apologies.

You refer to this order being made by a judge. I was assuming this was in the Civil Court (i.e. County Court) where the procedure I mentioned applies. I'm not now sure whether your order was made in the civil court, or in a criminal court. If it is the latter then it will have been made either by a magistrate, or by a judge in the Crown Court. I do not know the procedure for applying to vary an order in the criminal courts. If your order was made there & if the CAB can't help you in relation to it, you could contact the court office of the court concerned and ask how you go about applying yourself for a variation; also ask them what - if any - fee is involved & how to get exemption from it.

If you are able to get to the stage of applying for a variation, make sure you provide all the evidence of your essential expenditure to back up your case.
Question Author
still no joy with the variation as I can't proceed until I furnish them with 3 months worth of bank statements, you would think this is easy, alas not. Barclays will only do it by post and I have requested them 4 times now, they say it takes 72hours....3 weeks ago was my 1st request..ahhhh. I have appealed to the branch manager without success, computer says no mentality.
Oh as a side issue some of the items I am accused of stealing have been found in a store room at work, just where they belong. Hopefully the CPS will see sense in this and realise I have been telling the truth all along.
Question Author
Barclays have now provided the statements, 72 hours my ****. It took 5 requests, 6 calls and 8 visits to the branch. I fully expect the Legal aid people to sit on this for a month or so then send it back asking for more details.
Question Author
Grateful for any help- still no nearer challenging this order. I have exhaustively researched this and it is clear that provision should have been made for me to provide legal representation, it was not. All the tests applied to a freezing order (in my mind) have been failed however, it was still rubber stamped. The tests are very simple based on a good arguable case and evidence, neither were satisfied. Still no nearer legal aid as LSC have returned forms twice now seeking more info. Big Q is, how does someone with no assets or £ (available) defend themselves in court? I have approached the court too but they want money. The bank is about to reposses my house and my phone has been cut off. PS. Still not charged with anything or taken to court and I have chased the legal aid continuously without success.

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