Citadel Chambers success in LAA Appeals

William Dudley and Nicholas Berry have successfully appealed decisions by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) before the Senior Courts Costs Office.

In both appeals Citadel Chambers Director John Binks successfully argued that the LAA's refusal to classify robberies as armed robberies, despite the fact they involved the use of weapons, was wrong.

William Dudley's case involved a robbery in which the defendant used a motorcycle helmet to assault the victim. The Costs Judge said 'in any common parlance, they used the motorcycle helmet as an offensive weapon'.

Nicholas Berry's case involved a robbery in which the victim was kicked and hit with a chair leg. The LAA said that the use of the chair leg was an additional act of violence, not part of the robbery. The Costs Judge said 'this was based purely on supposition' and held that 'additional hurdles seemingly placed in counsel’s path as in this case ought not to be erected.'

As any criminal practitioner will be aware, in both cases, the defendant would be sentenced on the basis that a weapon or equivalent was used. These judgments go some way to ensuring that in all such cases the LAA determines fees appropriately.