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Can I Change My Solicitor?

If you are unhappy with the criminal defence solicitor you have as your duty solicitor or your initial choice of own solicitor, you have the right to transfer your case to new representative.


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If you believe your case is likely to have serious consequences for you now, or in the future and you have the means to pay for this service

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Do we offer free consultations? 

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Having the right criminal defence solicitor can make all the difference when you are arrested, charged or prosecuted for a criminal offence. It is therefore in your interests to question whether you have the best possible representation and if better representation may help your case.

While it might seem simplest to just use the duty solicitor available when you are first arrested, they are not always experienced specialists in the types of charges you may be facing, especially if they involve more complex, serious offences.

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Why choose JD Spicer Zeb?

  • 1000's of Cases Dropped
  • 24/7 Emergency Phonelines
  • 100's of Years Combined Experience
  • Google Reviews Read all Reviews

Recent Cases

There is limited recourse for you if you are falsely accused. Click a selection of the cases we have covered. The best thing you can do is to instruct an excellent solicitor from the outset.

Read more cases

An experienced solicitor can significantly increase your chances of:

  • Avoiding charges
  • Having charges dropped
  • Securing a not guilty verdict at trial
  • Negotiating a lesser charge
  • Receiving the lightest possible sentence on conviction

You should consider transferring your case to an experienced, specialist criminal defence solicitor, like those right here at JD Spicer Zeb.

How can we help?

Common questions

We always work with the most experienced and best leading UK barristers, KCs (Kings Counsel). We cover all criminal cases 24/7 at the police station and court. Offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester cover cases across England and Wales. We can offer Legal Aid and affordable Private fee agreements. We can see you the same day, including virtually. Our Senior Partners supervise all of our cases.

How quickly do you respond?

We respond quickly even during out of hours. We do not get our work by paying for online adverts but based on the fact that few criminal law firms can match our 45 years of experience. Most of our cases are still from word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients. We are called daily by dissatisfied clients from firms with less experience than us. We respond very quickly to new enquiries. We know what clients seek and so we update clients rapidly.

Can you get cases dropped?

Yes, read about the recent cases we've helped our clients with here.

We always keep you updated and give straightforward advice. We will get cases dropped early where the case is weak or should not be prosecuted. We will be upfront with you about where you can benefit from a good result with an early guilty plea, such as a discount on your sentence. As we work on cases across all levels with clients from all walks of life, we are excellent at giving clear, spot-on advice. As an established firm, we can allocate a whole team to your case often at short notice to secure evidence to minimise the damage to you. 

Have you won any awards?


"JD Spicer Zeb demonstrated a clear commitment to client service through their work with vulnerable and diverse individuals in what can be severely traumatic circumstances".

Do you offer free consultations?

Where it is possible, we aim to provide an initial consultation to you. If we can speak to you, we can if required inform you about  –

  • Whether we can take the case on and our relevant experience.
  • Public and private funding benefits.
  • Assistance in applying for legal aid where we are likely to accept instructions.
  • An outline of options in police interview only. We will not advise you on which option to adopt.
  • Providing our free written guide explaining the police station process.
  • The gravity of routine and day-to-day offences you face.
  • Consequences of not attending the court or police station.
  • Consequences of interfering with any witnesses.
  • Retaining any evidence in support of your case.
  • If possible an outline of the elements of the offence that the police or CPS must prove.
  • This consultation will normally be by telephone or email and will only be for as long as we deem necessary to establish if we can act for you. If we cannot usefully give you any advice in this manner then we will not continue with the consultation. We will not discuss the case in depth for you to be able to decide on your plea or any significant aspect of the case, as this cannot be undertaken informally.
  • Referring you, if possible, to other firms for matters out of our specialism or if we cannot help.

Consultations do not apply to the following cases –

  • If we do not intend to take the case on.
  • Road Traffic cases, drink driving, drug driving, driving bans, speeding, no insurance, mobile phone use, points etc.
  • In all cases where we do not have the capacity to take your case or the availability of suitably qualified staff to provide an initial free consultation. This is applicable in all cases but especially where a more senior lawyer is required because of your personal needs or the complexity of the case.
  • Harassment/stalking/ coercive behaviour/malicious communications or road traffic cases and most sensitive cases. These cases are often too complicated to assess in short consultations.
  • The locations concerned may be too distant to represent you adequately or it may not be cost-effective for you or us.
  • The case is too complicated to assess or raises various charges or facts, complexity, or history to be considered informally or in a short consultation.
  • In most Legal aid transfers where legal aid is granted to another firm except in very grave cases, we may assess the case and merits for a transfer.
  • If your relationship has broken down with your existing solicitor or several solicitors.
  • If you have been released under investigation and have already had a police station attendance. 
  • If you hold legal aid with another firm and seek a second opinion.
  • If you are calling on behalf of the client as a friend or family member unless you have full authority and full facts.
  • To businesses.
  • Advising whether you were given good advice by your other solicitor.
  • Whether to decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Whether you have an arguable defence in law or factually complicated defences.
  • Any advice you have had after your first court appearance.
  • Any advice on appeal on conviction or sentence.
  • If we feel we are unable to communicate with you.
  • If we are likely to be conflicted or breach our professional rules.

Transferring your case at the police station stage or prior to your first court hearing

This is straightforward if you have been released under investigation, bailed to return to the police station or are waiting for a charging decision from the police. If you are charged and have not instructed your police station solicitor to apply for legal aid or agreed private funding, then we can assist you.

Transfer your criminal defence to JD Spicer Zeb now

To discuss transferring your case to JD Spicer Zeb now, you can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham or Manchester by telephone on:

  • Brent & Camden Office: 020 7624 7771

  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638

  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333

  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Transferring your criminal defence to a new solicitor explained

We are here to answer your questions about changing your solicitor, including:

Benefits of using a private solicitor over a duty solicitor

Duty solicitors are trained criminal defence lawyers but they work on a rota system, meaning that, if you need to use a duty solicitor, you will simply be assigned whoever is on the rota.

While duty solicitors tend to be dedicated, hardworking lawyers who can do a good job for straightforward offences, the way the duty solicitor system works can mean a defendant will not always get the strongest possible representation if they rely on a duty solicitor. You may be lucky and receive a very experienced duty solicitor but you may also receive someone less experienced or not as enthusiastic as you would like.

Potential disadvantages of this include that a duty solicitor:

  • Won’t know you or the details of your case before representing you
  • May not have recent or regular experience of the types of charges you are facing, especially if they are more serious, complex charges
  • Will only be paid for representing you in a police interview or court, so won’t be able to provide extra advice and support outside of these settings
  • Will likely be representing lots of different clients, so may not always be able to give you their full focus
  • May be a less experienced solicitor without the seasoned expertise to ensure your case is handled in the best possible way.
  • Is likely overworked and overstretched due to the limited funding available through legal aid, so may not be able to provide the service you require
  • Won’t be able to speak to the prosecution or the police ahead of your Court appearance to discuss any potential out of court disposals i.e. a police caution or a Community Resolution

Benefits of using a private criminal defence solicitor experienced in the type of charges you are facing include that they will be able to:

  • Spend extra getting to know you and your case
  • Bring specialist expertise relevant to your situation
  • Provide pre-charge and pre-hearing advice to help develop an effective defence strategy in advance
  • Discuss and negotiate out of Court disposals such as a caution or community resolution
  • Offer their full focus to your case and get the best outcome for you
  • Ensure your case is handled by an experienced, specialist criminal defence solicitor at all times
  • In many cases, provide better client care as they have the time and resources to do so

How to transfer your case to a different solicitor once the case has reached court

The formal process for transferring your criminal defence to a different solicitor is very straightforward. All you need to do is take the following steps:

These apply to cases where legal aid is granted

  • Choose a new solicitor
  • Complete a Notice of Change of Solicitor form (your new solicitor will normally do this for you)
  • Sign the Notice of Change of Solicitor form
  • Have your new solicitor submit the Notice of Change of Solicitor form to the Court

If you have a Representation Order (a.k.a. ‘legal aid’) to cover some or all of the cost of your criminal defence, then you will also have to take additional steps to see if you are able to transfer this to your new solicitor.

To transfer a Representation Order to a new solicitor, you will need to make a separate Application to Change Solicitors to the Court. The Court will then decide whether to allow you to transfer your Representation Order or not. If the Court will not allow this, you may need to fund your defence privately.

Read more about how transfer of legal aid to a new solicitor works.

When to transfer your case to a different solicitor

There are many reasons why you might want to change the solicitor handling your criminal defence and there are various points in criminal proceedings where defendants will typically make this decision.

Common reasons to change your criminal defence solicitor include where your current solicitor has:

  • Made a mistake that has harmed your defence or undermined your confidence in them
  • Not been available when you need them e.g. to represent you or to answer an urgent question
  • Failed to respond to calls, emails and other attempts to communicate with them
  • Failed to turn up to court as required
  • Not followed your instructions correctly
  • Revealed that they do not have experience handling the types of charges you are facing, especially if they are serious, complex charges
  • Suggested a strategy you are not happy with e.g. that you plead guilty when you know that you are innocent
  • Treated you poorly e.g. not being sensitive or empathetic to your situation
  • Failed to explain your situation and options to you clearly, leaving you confused and worried about what is happening, what might happen next and what you need to do
  • Made you feel like you cannot trust them with your criminal defence

We also often hear from people who simply do not like the duty solicitor they have been assigned and would prefer someone without they can have a better relationship.

Given how critical the right defence can be, it is important that you have full confidence in your solicitor, so any of these issues is a perfectly good reason to think about transferring your case to new representation.

Common times to think about changing solicitor include where:

  • You have been re-arrested or called back to a police station for another interview
  • You have been charged with an offence or offences
  • You have been convicted and wish to appeal

While you can transfer your case at any time, these are often the points at which defendants find themselves questioning whether their previous representation has been as good as it could have been.

How transfer of legal aid to a new solicitor works

Where you have received a Representation Order (a.k.a. ‘legal aid’) to cover the cost of your criminal defence, you may be able to transfer this to a new solicitor, but it will depend on the reason why you need to change solicitor. The courts are very reluctant to transfer legal aid. You should always attempt to work with your existing solicitor where you are able to do so.

You may be able to transfer a Representation Order to a new solicitor if one of the following applies:

  • Your current solicitor has to withdraw from the case e.g. due to illness or professional reasons, such as a conflict of interest
  • Your relationship with your current solicitor has seriously broken down e.g. because they gave you negligent advice which has harmed your defence
  • There is another ‘substantial compelling reason’ that you need to change your legal representation – it will be up to the judge handling your case to decide what is acceptable as a substantial compelling reason to change solicitor and this can be a hard standard to meet

If you are unable to transfer your Representation Order to a new solicitor, it may be necessary to fund your case privately. While this can make your defence more expensive, it is hard to put a price on the difference an experienced specialist criminal defence lawyer can make – especially when you may be facing a prison sentence, substantial fine and serious consequences for your reputation and future.

In our view, the cost of funding your criminal defence privately is usually a sound investment as the benefits of getting the best possible representation really can be so lifechanging.

Find out more about funding your criminal defence.

Why JD Spicer Zeb is the right choice for your case

There are many reasons why we believe JD Spicer Zeb is the top choice for anyone facing serious criminal charges, including:

  • Over 40 years of specialist criminal defence experience representing people just like you who are facing serious and complex charges
  • Law Society accredited in Criminal Litigation
  • Sensible advice on the best available outcome for your situation and what you need to do to achieve it
  • Empathetic support at what we know can be a very difficult time
  • Robust representation for police interviews and court proceedings to make sure you are not treated unfairly
  • Smart, tactical advice to ensure you start building the strongest possible defence from the earliest opportunity
  • Contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can always speak to your solicitor when you need to

Transfer your case to the expert criminal defence team at JD Spicer Zeb

To discuss transferring your case to JD Spicer Zeb, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham or Manchester by telephone on:

  • Brent & Camden Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

How can we help?

  • Umar Zeb
      • Umar Zeb
      • Senior Partner - Head of Private Client Crime
      • 020 7624 7771
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  • Lisa Nicol
      • Lisa Nicol
      • Managing Partner - Head of Crime & Serious Cases
      • 020 7624 771
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  • James O'Donnell
      • 020 762 47771
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  • Sanjay Cholera
      • 020 7624 7771
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  • Peter Mulhearn
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • John Geraghty
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Danny Parkash
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  • Mimma Sabato
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Richard Souper
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Jonathan Lynn
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Samuel Oduntan
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Barry Linnane
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • Stuart Lloyd
      • 020 7624 7771
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  • Robert Wong
      • 020 7624 7771
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  • Maeve Carroll
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  • Rebecca Forbes
      • 0161 835 1638
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  • Sachelle Gilbert
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