Find a solicitor
It is not necessary to use a solicitor when applying to the Commission (CCRC), but some applicants find that there are benefits to having a legal representative. He or she may be able to help to identify the key issues in your case, and advise you before, during and after the review.
If you are in prison, you could find out which solicitors visit the prison most regularly as those firms are likely to have the kind of experience you need and should be able to arrange a legal visit to see you.
If you can get to a library, there will be several directories of solicitors in the reference section which show the kind of work solicitors do; for example, The Law Society's Directory of Solicitors and Barristers, Waterlow's Solicitors' Diary, and Chambers' Directory of the Legal Profession.
You might like to try Solicitors-Online on the Law Society Web site (new window). This site allows you to search in various ways for solicitors based in England and Wales by name, location, specialism and languages spoken. You could also try the Citizens Advice Bureau online advice guide (new window). This site has a section on the legal system which includes a section on solicitors.
If you telephone a firm, you may not be able to speak directly to the person you want as they will often be at court or with another client. Say that you want advice on an application to the CCRC and leave your name and how you can be contacted.
If you write, there is no need to go into a lot of detail straight away; just mention the CCRC and ask for an appointment, or a legal visit if you are in prison.
Legal advice and assistance
You can get advice and assistance from solicitors or other legally qualified staff about submitting and progressing applications to the Commission. Public funding may be available under the Legal Aid scheme if the firm holds a General Criminal Contract. The lawyer will be able to assess your income and capital and advise whether you are financially eligible for such help.
If you are not eligible for publicly-funded advice, or the lawyer you choose does not hold a General Criminal Contract, you can pay privately. Applications to the Commission can take time to review and you should obtain details of the rates the firm charges and an estimate of how much work may be required in your case. You should also agree how often you wish to be informed of the cost incurred otherwise your lawyer is not obliged to update you more often than every six months. Your solicitor should also discuss with you whether the likely outcome of the case and the work involved will justify the expense.
If your application to the Commission is successful and your case is referred to the appeal courts, an application can be made for Legal Aid to cover the cost of the barrister employed to represent you at the actual hearing. This funding is only exceptionally extended to pay for your solicitor to carry out more work.
Notes for legal representatives
Legal representatives may wish to download guidance on CCRC applications provided by the Legal Services Commission by clicking on the icon below. Please note the documents will open in a new window.