Free representation for breach of civil injunction
We are seeing more and more clients appearing before the Court for breach of a civil injunction. These are in relation to proceedings brought under Part 1 of the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
As these are civil cases brought before the County Court, it may be surprising that criminal legal aid is available to ensure representation is free of charge to those facing proceedings, Additionally, the application is not subject to a means test, so will always be granted.
We hold a criminal legal aid contract with the government so are one of the firms that can provide legal advice and representation to those facing proceedings.
What is a civil injunction?
Section 1 of the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced a civil injunction into law. This meant that a number of bodies, for example the police or local authorities, have the power to make an application to try and prevent anti-social behaviour.
Applications are normally made when there are neighbour disputes involving anti-social behaviour. The injunction application will be made in the County Court. This will include cases where housing authorities have received complaints from other residents regarding anti social behaviour. This could range from noise nuisance to threatening or intimidating behaviour. Any injunction made can run indefinitely.
The terms of the order will be tailored to the individual case. Conditions are likely to be imposed that would prevent harassment of a named individual or prevent a person playing loud music.
A breach of civil injunction
Where there is evidence that you may have breached one of the prohibitions of such a civil injunction, you can be brought before the court.
If the original injunction provides a power of arrest then the Police can arrest you. You must be brought before the Court within 24 hours although holiday exceptions apply. If the injunction does not provide a power of arrest then the agency would apply to the Court for an arrest warrant.
What could happen at Court?
It is vital that you ask for legal advice and representation. Breach of civil injunction is a civil contempt of court. The potential sentence under section 14 Contempt of Court Act 1981 is either a large fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years.
Once instructed, we will apply for legal aid on your behalf. As set out above, this will always be granted and our representation will always be free to you.
We would then provide you with advice on the strength of the evidence. Although your case would be heard in the County Court, the criminal standard of proof applies. The Judge would have to be sure that you were in breach.
If the matter is denied by you then the case might well be adjourned. In those circumstance, we can make a bail application on your behalf pending the contested hearing. This would allow us more time to obtain your instructions in the interim. We would then go on to represent you at the contested hearing.
Alternatively, where you accept breach of civil injunction, then we can put forward mitigation on your behalf in order to avoid immediate custody. It is of note that there are no sentencing guidelines in civil contempt. As a result there will be a great advantage in us helping the Judge if necessary with current cases relating to sentence. This will allow you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact a crime specialist for breach of civil injunction
If you are arrested or know that you face proceedings for breach of civil injunctions then make sure you insist on our advice and representation.
If arrested, the police will allow you to contact us from the police station prior to your production at court. Any advice given at that stage will also be free of charge to you.
We have offices across the East Midlands and will happily travel across the country to provide representation for these proceedings.
Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.