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Coercive Control Law - Defence Solicitors

Have you been accused of coercive control? Or are you concerned about what might happen next? Our coercive control solicitors have a wealth of combined expertise and experience in handling these types of matters and will be on hand to provide carefully tailored advice and representation if you are facing such a serious accusation.

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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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Coercive controlling behaviour is a serious offence, and the relevant penalties and sentences for anyone convicted can be severe. Depending on the circumstances of the case, coercive control laws dictate that you could be handed a sentence ranging from a community order through to a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment - in addition to being subject to various types of court orders.

At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, we understand that facing a potential charge of coercive control can be incredibly daunting. Our coercive control solicitors can provide immediate support and representation, providing immediate support and representation, providing you with the best possible chance of avoiding charges or minimising penalties where conviction is unavoidable.

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Why choose JD Spicer Zeb?

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

Our highly qualified solicitors offer:

  • 24/7 legal support in person and over the phone, 365 days a year
  • Representation anywhere in England and Wales
  • Accredited Police Station Representatives to support you during a police interview
  • Clear, effective legal advice in any language (see our languages spoken)

Whether you have been accused of coercive control, have been arrested, charged or released on bail or under investigation, get in touch with our coercive control solicitors as soon as possible.

Please note that we only accept private work for coercive control offences. We do not normally offer legal aid for this particular area of law.

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.

Speak to our coercive control solicitors in London, Manchester and Birmingham today

For an initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, please call 020 7624 7771.

For urgent advice at any time of day or night, please call our emergency number 07836 577556.

You can also email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk or fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

Our coercive control solicitors can represent you in any court. 

See recent case studies of Coercive control - These were complicated cases where our client was found Not Guilty -

Maidstone Crown Court Not Guilty Coercive Controlling Behaviour & Assault CLICK HERE.

Harrow Crown Court Not Guilty Coercive Controlling Behaviour & Rape CLICK HERE.

Our coercive control expertise

Defending allegations of coercive control

Coercive control is a specific domestic abuse offence where a defendant is alleged to have behaved in a way that manipulates the way someone acts, thinks and feels. Coercive control could involve actions such as threats, humiliation, intimidation and physical violence.

The new offence of coercive control, which does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29 December 2015.

For someone to be convicted, coercive control laws dictate that a prosecution must be able to prove that:

  • The behaviour was repeated, and
  • The defendant personally knew the victim, and
  • Their behaviour had a serious effect on the victim, and
  • The defendant knew, or reasonably ought to have known, that their behaviour would have had a serious effect on the victim.

Every case involving allegations of coercive control is unique, which means that a number of different factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to building an effective defence case.

Our domestic abuse defence team can work alongside you to carefully review your situation and take the most appropriate course of action. Depending on your circumstances, this may include demonstrating that:

  • Your alleged behaviour cannot be considered ‘coercive’ or ‘controlling’
  • Your alleged behaviour did not have an effect on the other person
  • You could not have reasonably been aware that your alleged behaviour would have an effect on the other person

Why choose our coercive control solicitors?

The criminal defence team at JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors have been advising and representing clients in relation to domestic abuse offences, such as coercive and controlling behaviour, for more than 40 years. Our team understand the various complexities and challenges that come with these types of cases, so we can ensure that no important details or angle of defence is overlooked. This will help to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving the right result for you.

We have extensive experience representing clients in both Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court, so can effectively support you at all levels of court proceedings. Our team includes a number of accredited police station representatives, allowing us to provide 24-hour police station representation. 

We have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation and Children Law, recognising our expertise across two areas critical to dealing with many domestic abuse cases, including coercive control.

If your case is due to be heard at Willesden Court, we can represent you, with our costs likely being lower as we are a local firm to the court.

Funding your coercive control defence

Funding police station representation

You are entitled to free legal representation if you have been arrested or are being interviewed under caution. This can be from a solicitor of your choosing.

Funding your legal defence if you are prosecuted

Please note that we only accept private work for coercive control offences. We do not offer legal aid for this particular area of law.

When self-funding your legal representation, we can clearly explain all of the potential costs and our fee structures. The contribution you make to your legal defence may be refunded if you are found not guilty.

However, it is possible that you may not necessarily recover the full amount of the fees you have paid. This is because if an award for costs is made, the ‘appropriate authority’ will assess the amount and decide if the costs claimed relate to the work that appears to have been reasonably done. The amount payable is calculated in accordance with rates laid down by the government.

Frequently asked questions about coercive control

What is coercive control?

As we have briefly discussed, coercive control is a form of domestic abuse. It involves behaviour that is designed to manipulate the way someone acts, thinks and feels. In essence, the supposed goal of coercive and controlling behaviour is for an abuser to isolate someone, exploit them and reduce their level of independence.

Someone guilty of coercive control will likely use threats, humiliation tactics, intimidation and physical violence. In addition to this, they may illicit some form of sympathy, leaving a victim entrapped and confused.

Examples of coercive and controlling behaviour may include:

  • Preventing someone from seeing or talking to family, friends and colleagues
  • Monitoring and controlling where someone goes
  • Controlling what someone eats
  • Monitoring phone calls and text messages
  • Verbal abuse
  • Financial control

How is coercive control proved?

To prove that coercive control took place, the prosecution is required to prove that:

  • The behaviour was repeated, and
  • The defendant personally knew the victim, and
  • Their behaviour had a serious effect on the victim, and
  • The defendant knew, or reasonably ought to have known, that their behaviour would have had a serious effect on the victim.

To do this, the prosecution will need to rely on various pieces of evidence, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Phone Recordings
  • Video footage
  • Written communications, such as text messages and emails
  • Medical records
  • Photographic evidence
  • Bank records to show financial abuse
  • Eyewitness accounts

What are the sentencing guidelines for coercive control?

Controlling and coercive behaviour sentencing guidelines are wide ranging and will vary depending on a number of different factors.

Starting off, when judging the relevant penalty, the court is required to determine the offence category by looking at the level of culpability.

  • A – Higher culpability
    • Conduct intended to maximise fear or distress
    • Persistent action over a prolonged period
    • Use of multiple methods of controlling or coercive behaviour
    • Sophisticated offence
    • Conduct intended to humiliate and degrade the victim
  • B – Medium culpability
    • Conduct intended to cause some fear or distress
    • Scope and duration of offence that falls between categories A and C
    • All other cases that fall between categories A and C
  • C – Lesser culpability
    • Offender’s responsibility substantially reduced by a mental disorder or learning disability
    • Offence was limited in scope and duration

Once this has been established, the level of harm is weighed up against the factors of the case.

  • Category 1
    • Fear of violence on many occasions
    • Very serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse effect on the victim
    • Significant psychological harm
  • Category 2
    • Fear of violence on at least two occasions
    • Serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victim

Once the culpability and harm are established, the court will decide on the relevant penalty. According to coercive control laws, offences that are deemed to be ‘A’ for culpability and are Category 1 for harm carry the most severe penalties, with a range of between 1-4 years’ custody, whereas offences deemed ‘C’ for culpability and Category 2 for harm have a range of a low-level community order to 26 weeks’ custody.

In many instances, prosecutors will also apply for restraining orders, even upon acquittal.

A detailed look at controlling and coercive behaviour sentencing guidelines can be found here.

Contact our coercive control solicitors today

For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation, or to speak to us confidentially about coercive and controlling behaviour charges, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

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.

24/7 legal representation for people accused of coercive control

For immediate representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.

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